Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) say they received a call Sunday regarding diluted liquid manure running off a field from a cattle open feedlot about 20 miles east of Council Bluffs. On Sunday, DNR investigators found an unknown amount of wastewater had entered a tributary of the West Nishnabotna River. Investigators searched for signs of a fish kill, but did not find any dead fish. DNR staff talked with Cyclone Cattle feedlot producers near Macedonia.
The facility was pumping liquids from a solids settling basin and land applying the wastewater through a center pivot irrigation system. Land application is allowed during winter for open feedlots. However, the wastewater was running off the field, which is not allowed.
Water samples have been submitted and DNR is waiting for laboratory results. The investigation is ongoing. The DNR will continue to monitor the situation and consider appropriate enforcement action.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa has become the first state in the nation to derive more than 30 percent of its electricity from wind energy. The American Wind Energy Association says more than 31 percent of the state’s electricity came from wind turbines last year. South Dakota was at 25.5 percent and Kansas at 23.9 percent.
Gov. Terry Branstad says Iowa has the potential to jump above 40 percent in the next five years. In a report released Monday the association said wind produced more than 190 million megawatt-hours of power in the U.S. last year, enough electricity for about 17.5 million typical homes. The goal is for the U.S. to derive 20 percent of its electricity by 2030. The nation was at 4.7 percent from wind last year.
The Iowa Agricultural Development Division is co-hosting Beginning Farmer and Military Veteran Workshops. The free events are open to everyone, and are sponsored by the Iowa Bankers Association, Farm Service Agency, FFA Alumni, Iowa Finance Authority and Veterans in Agriculture. Locally, a workshop will be held in Creston, Thursday April 14th, 2016, from 8:30-until 11:30-a.m. at Southwestern Community College (1501 W. Townline St.), Instructional Center Room 180.
8:30-9:00 a.m.: Registration and Coffee
9:00-9:30 a.m.: Farm Service Agency Beginning Farmer Programs
9:30-10:00 a.m.: Iowa Finance Authority Beginning Farmer Programs
10:00-10:15 a.m.: Veterans in Agriculture update
10:15-10:30 a.m.: Break
10:30-11:00 a.m.: Ag Lenders Panel on Regional Ag Topics
11:00-11:30 a.m.: Questions and Discussion
11:30 a.m.: Adjorn
To register for the workshop, visit IowaFinanceAuthority.gov.
A biofuels industry advisor says the ethanol industry is “ripe for consolidation.” Bruce Comer, director of California-based Ocean Park Advisors, says if tight ethanol margins continue, more companies will be evaluating their options. “If margins stay where they are, more owners, more board members, and more managers are going to take a harder look at whether to continue to own and continue to fight the fight, or to look at other opportunities,” Comer said. “At a minimum, checking the market for what their assets might be worth.”
Comer notes that there are still 94 “stand-alone” ethanol plants that account for more than five billion gallons, or 36 percent of domestic production. “That steady march of consolidation of those 94 independent plants, I think we can expect to see that (continue) for the next several years,” Comer said. “And depending on how this year turns out with margins and inventory and exports and some of those other factors, it could push that number up and we could see a very active year.”
Comer says the pace of ethanol exports will be one of the key factors to watch over the remainder in 2016.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Farm and construction equipment manufacturer Deere & Co. is cutting 100 manufacturing workers at two Iowa factories. Layoffs effective April 1 include 80 workers in Davenport and 20 in Dubuque. Both factories are part of the company’s construction and forestry division. The Moline, Illinois-based company said Friday it is balancing the size of its workforce with market demand for some of its products.
Last week Deere cut its full-year earnings forecast citing weak sales of farm and construction equipment. Falling commodity prices have made farmers less likely to buy new equipment and declining oil prices have affected its construction equipment sales. In November the company announced that it would idle about 220 workers. For fiscal 2016, Deere anticipates equipment sales declining about 10 percent.
Cass County Youth Coodinator Beth Irlbeck says “Cass County 4-H Clubs would like to invite the public to attend their annual 4-H Mardi Gras carnival on Sunday, March 6th.” Irlbeck says “Mardi Gras includes fun, food, & carnival-type games for kids of all ages. The event is scheduled from 2:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. at the Cass County Community Center in Atlantic.”
There will be many activities for families at this year’s event, including: Plinko; Ring Toss; Dessert Walk; Walking Taco Stand; Sponge Throw;,Youth Council Mardi Gras Jail; Bucket Pong, and much more.
The Youth Action Committee and Youth Council are sponsoring this county-wide event and would like to invite all Cass County families to come out and join the fun. It is intended to be a low cost, family-friendly event for everyone in the county. Irlbeck said “You don’t have to be in 4-H to attend.” Admission is 50-cents per person and tickets cost ten-cents each. Each 4-H club determines how many tickets to charge to
play their game. All proceeds from this event go to the 4-H clubs, Youth Council, and the Cass County 4-H Program.
The Shelby County Emergency Services Association, which is comprised of all Fire, Ambulance, Emergency Management and Law Enforcement services in Shelby County, is reminding land owners and managers about the upcoming Spring Field Fire Season. Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says Shelby County sees an increase in fire activity every year in the spring and fall when residents start igniting burn piles, or prescribed fires on CRP land to meet land management objectives.
Often times he says, fires are ignited on days when weather conditions are less than favorable. When those burns are started they can cause escape fires which put lives, environment, and property in danger. Seivert says the Shelby County Emergency Services Association, in coordination with local Fire Chiefs are asking you to call the Shelby County Emergency Management Office at 712-755-2124 to report your controlled burning projects.
When you call in you will simply be asked the size of your project, a number you can be reached at, start and stop times of the planned burn. The Shelby County Emergency Management Office will also ask that you provide the local fire chief with notification. A burn plan can be used to assess the safety of all burns. The EMA office, can assist in completing these, and will have the form posted on their web site. wwwshelbycountyema.com
Fire Danger Rating Boards located in all communities will be updated twice a week. Most of them are located at your community fire station. If you are unsure where the Fire Danger Rating sign is located, contact one of the members of your local fire department, they will be happy to let you know where it is.
An electronic copy of the Fire Danger Rating Board will be available at www.shelbycountyema.com. The purpose of the system is to visually let the public know when the conditions are safest to carry out your burning projects. The system is not a permitting process or authorization to burn it just lets you know if conditions are favorable.
Shelby County’s cooperative system will allow the authorities to dispatch Emergency Resources immediately on report of smoke when the fire danger is determined to be HIGH or EXTREME. On HIGH days fire resources will be dispatched and make a decision on whether it is safe to continue the burning. If the Fire Chief or his designee think conditions are not safe they may extinguish the fire.
On EXTREME days all fires will be extinguished unless a permit or waiver has been signed by the Chief of the local fire department.
Iowa’s F-F-A members are celebrating F-F-A Week by holding events like pancake dinners and driving their farm tractors to school. Joshua Remington, executive director of the Iowa F-F-A Foundation, says there’s been a big increase in membership in the 226 chapters statewide. “Statewide, there’s 14,847 of us and we’re super-excited because that actually is an all-time record membership.”
He says the organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. “People might think the FFA is slowing down or growth is slowing down and membership might not be what it is as people move to more urban areas, but it’s a record membership as people pay more attention to things like where their food comes from, water quality and overall production of food,” Remington says.
He says agricultural education prepares students for successful careers and a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources systems.
“Agriculturalists, by and large, tend to be excellent stewards and they want to pass on that land from generation to generation and have a great opportunity there,” Remington says. “Plus, we know that many parents value the career choices their students are making.”