KJAN Ag/Outdoor

From County extension to conservation to grain prices, we provide lots of information every day on KJAN.  Here is some of that information on the web too!  We hope you find it useful.

Des Moines water supplier files lawsuit over nitrates

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Des Moines Water Works has filed a lawsuit against three northern Iowa counties, alleging they are violating federal law by running drainage systems that contribute to high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for source water. Details of the lawsuit against Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties were released Monday. The Des Moines Register reports  the lawsuit was filed Friday and seeks reimbursement after spending $540,000 to operate a nitrate removal facility for 97 days this winter.

Water Works officials say the counties’ 10 drainage districts allow excessive nitrate levels into the Raccoon River, a primary central Iowa water source. In the lawsuit, the utility alleges such systems limit the area’s drinking supply. The law firm representing the counties didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment Monday.

Near-record warmth expected today, drop of 20 to 30 degrees for tomorrow

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

This is the last Monday of winter but it’ll feel more like summer across much of Iowa with high temperatures approaching record territory. Meteorologist Brad Fillbach, at the National Weather Service, says most of the state will have highs in the 70s and 80s.  “We are going to be warm today, much warmer than normal,” Fillbach says. “Our record for Des Moines today is 84 and we’re looking for highs in the lower 80s, so close, but probably not a record day.”

He says the warming trend will be boosting temperatures 20 to 30 degrees warmer than average for this date in many Iowa cities. “Normal highs for this time of the year, for the Des Moines area, are upper 40s and for the lows, you’re looking at the upper 20s, so well above normal but not quite the record levels.” A cool front is expected to drift over Iowa late tonight, bumping tomorrow’s (Tuesday) highs back down closer to normal. “We’re going to see a big change in temperatures tomorrow,” Fillbach says. “Where today, we’re lower 80s for highs and tomorrow we’re looking for lower 50s.”

Meteorologist Mindy Beerends, also at the National Weather Service, says a Red Flag Warning is posted for much of central, west-central and south-central Iowa today due to conditions raising the risk of wildfires.  Beerends says, “We’re expecting gusty winds, low relative humidity and dry vegetation which is the combination factors for that Red Flag Warning and extreme fire conditions.”

Even with the big drop in high temperatures for tomorrow, Beerends says much of Iowa will still be slightly above-normal for highs for the rest of the week. Spring arrives on Friday.

(Radio Iowa)

Burn Bans in effect for two southwest Iowa Counties effective today (Monday)

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Dry and windy conditions have prompted Emergency Management officials in Montgomery and Taylor Counties to issue a Burn Ban. The ban on opening burn in Montgomery County is in effect from Noon today (Monday), until further notice. The ban in Taylor County was ordered Friday and becomes effective today, as well.

A Red Flag warning is in effect for all of southwest and western Iowa this afternoon and this evening, for critical fire conditions (low humidity and high winds) that could create explosive fire growth.

More Beginning Farmers, Despite Iowa Farm Declines

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 16th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DERBY, Iowa – The latest figures show the number of farms in Iowa continues to fall, but that isn’t slowing down a new crop of beginning farmers looking to reverse the trend. About two years ago, Angela Johnson, co-owner of Lucky George Farm, and her husband quit their corporate jobs, cashed out a 401-K and began a conservancy livestock operation outside the town of Derby, in southern Iowa. Johnson says they did so to be able to provide a legacy along with good, healthy food for their children.

“What we’re trying to do is just do everything as natural as possible that would’ve been done in a way with – about 100 years ago or so, our great-great-greats would’ve farmed the way that we do,” says Johnson. “We wanted to do it because we see that that’s the future for our family.”

The Johnsons raise endangered breeds of livestock across multiple species and one of their Large Black pigs was used by a chef who recently won a regional cooking competition. There are many challenges to getting a start in agriculture, from finances to marketing and more. Johnson says key to their growing operation has been the advice and help from other producers and groups, including Practical Farmers of Iowa.

“We have found a network of individuals who are like-minded and willing to accept the challenges through PFI,” Johnson says. “We have networked with other market farmers so that we can learn from them, learn from their mistakes. Our social network has really been the thing that’s helped us along.” According to the USDA, the number of farms in Iowa fell by 500 last year to 88,000, although that is still the third-highest in the country, behind only Missouri and Texas.

(Iowa News Service)

USDA official discusses increased efficiency of ethanol plants

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 14th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

An economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture says ethanol plants are becoming more efficient. Last month, the agency increased its forecast of corn needed for ethanol by 50-million bushels, but a more recent forecast reduced it by 50-million. The USDA’s Acting Chief Economist, Rob Johansson, says this is a case of less means more. “We’re finding…we’re using less corn to make a gallon of ethanol. So, our ethanol refining is becoming more efficient,” Johansson says.

Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production, creating nearly 30-percent of all ethanol. Across the country, ethanol plants are expected to use 5.2 billion bushels of corn this year. That is 1% less than previous forecasts but nearly one-and-a-half percent more than in 2014. Iowa’s 43 ethanol plants produced 3.9 billion gallons of the fuel in 2014, a new production record, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

(Radio Iowa)

Sunnyside Park gates to open this afternoon

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 13th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The gates to Sunnyside Park will be opened today (Friday), beginning at 4-p.m. Atlantic Parks and Rec Director Roger Herring advises motorists to “Use great caution as you drive through the park, due to gravel and debris on the streets.” Herring says the tennis courts are open and ready to used by the public FOR TENNIS ONLY.

He says motorists should also be alert to the presence of walkers, joggers, disc golf players and children at play. Herring hopes you will enjoy and respect the parks and their property, because they are there for everyone to enjoy.

Urgent: Shelby County Fire Danger EXTREME until further notice

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

March 12th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency/911 is asking all Fire Departments in the County to immediately place the Fire Danger Rating Boards in the EXTREME category. The Increase in Fire Danger is due to No expected precipitation in next four days, large volume of dead plant material, low humidity’s, increased temperature’s, predicted gusting winds to 29MPH, and limited field access due to thawing conditions.Extreme Fire Danger

Fire Behavior predictions in these conditions are as follows: fire spread between 7 to 10 MPH, with flame lengths approximately 30’ in length at the front of the fire. Fires that start in these conditions can easily overtake and trap you. Firefighters are at a high risk also due to traction issues off road.

Shelby County Ordinance NO. 2012-1 Local Burning Ban Ordinance allows citations to be issued during these conditions. A violation of this ordinance is punishable by a minimum fine of $100 for an individual or $500 for an organization, not to exceed $1000. The violator may also be liable for additional reasonable restitution.

Cass County Extension Report 03-11-2015

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

March 11th, 2015 by Chris Parks

w/ Kate Olson

Play

Numerous departments battle fires near Villisca, Tuesday

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

Peronnel with the Villisca Fire Dept along with several other firefighters from Department within Taylor, Page and Adams County, battled a large field fire Tuesday afternoon. Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Brian Hamman said on his social media page that the fire involved several hundred acres, large round hay bales and brush piles.

Photo from the Montgomery County EMA's Facebook page.

Photo from the Montgomery County EMA’s Facebook page.

Hamman said also conditions are ripe enough for fire to get out of control and move at a dangerous speed. He mentioned it was Villisca’s second fire of the day. All of the blazes were in Taylor County, just southeast of Villisca. The Fire Danger index in southwest Iowa was in the “Very High” category, Tuesday.

Des Moines water supplier to sue counties over nitrates

Ag/Outdoor, News

March 10th, 2015 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Des Moines Water Works board has voted to sue three northern Iowa counties in an effort to hold them responsible for the high nitrate levels in rivers the utility uses for source water. The board voted Tuesday afternoon to sue Calhoun, Buena Vista and Sac counties in U.S. District Court in Des Moines.

The counties oversee 10 agriculture drainage districts north of Des Moines. The lawsuit will allege the drainage systems are no different than city wastewater treatment plants in that they discharge pollutants and should be subject to heightened regulatory oversight.

Nineteen citizens spoke in support at the meeting. Several farm groups say in a statement the lawsuit undermines the relationship between the water utility and farmers upstream but they’ll continue to work on water quality.