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Wildflower Walk in Cass County, April 24th

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 9th, 2021 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning says “We have one of best views in Southwest Iowa to observe spring woodland wildflowers right here outside Atlantic,” and “The Cass County Conservation Board is holding a Wildflower Walk” to take in their beauty. The program will be held at the Pellett Memorial Woods north of Atlantic off Olive Street, beginning at 9-a.m. on April 24th. There is no charge to participate

Oak Strollers Nature Club for Families are welcome to join-in at this event. Kanning says “We invite you to walk through the early spring wildflowers with our naturalist. Learn the names, uses and history of these Wildflowers.”

Those in attendance will meet at Pellett Memorial Woods- located ½ mile north and ¾ mile east of the KJAN radio station.

State parks and campgrounds now under new pricing schedule

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 9th, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is rolling out a new pricing system for the state parks and campgrounds. Parks Bureau Chief Todd Coffelt says it’s in response to a law passed by the Iowa Legislature giving the DNR the authority to set the pricing. “The law didn’t say raise all the prices. The law said we’ll give you the tools to make the decision that is necessary,” Coffelt says. “So on an annual basis we will be comparing these and we’ll be coming back with plans every year as we report to the legislature. We are going to see how the response is.”

Coffelt says they have to look at similar attractions within 60 miles of the state facilities and see if their prices are comparable. He says they sorted everything into four tiers — with tier one being the facilities that see the fewest visitors each year. “The first tier where the use is down we actually lessen the price to get people to go there, to make it more attractive,” he says. Tier four facilities have the most use and often the most amenities, and Coffelt says they will likely see an increase. “So when you add in the amenities of your own pedestal for electricity, your own hydrant for water, and your own connection for greywater, that’s where you are going to see the price increase in those more popular areas,” Coffelt says.

State parks were shut down for a time by the pandemic — and once back open — 2020 set a record of more than 16 million visitors. Coffelt says people were looking to get out of the house in the pandemic and that seems to be continuing. “Our March numbers for this year, relatively speaking, they are double what they were last year,” Coffelt says. “So people are getting out, we’ve had nice weather, The public has the equipment, and they’ve seen the value of being able to get outside and spend time with family We are going to be busy. And we are excited by it.”

Coffelt thinks people will understand if the cost to go to their favorite park or campground increases, as that money is going back into the facilities. “We haven’t raised them for 21 years. This is going to allow us to do things to care for the resource that we haven’t been able to do because they weren’t a high enough priority,” he says. “And we are really going to take a look at how the public is using them. Options could be more staff, options could be improvements. We’ll have to take a look at that. We are just getting started.”

Coffelt says one good thing that came out of the pandemic is people became more aware of the parks last year. “It was our hundredth anniversary last year, and so we had the greatest plan ever to get people to come to the parks moving up into it,” Coffelt says. “Then all of a sudden the pandemic happened and we put the plan on the shelf and more people came to the parks than we could ever have anticipated. On one hand, it happened, on the other hand, it didn’t happen the way we thought it would.”

Coffelt says the cost changes for each facility are listed on the iowadnr.gov website. Click on the “Places to Go” tab.

Local Posted County Prices 4/9/2021


April 9th, 2021 by Ric Hanson

Cass County: Corn $5.39 Beans $13.77
Adair County: Corn $5.36 Beans $13.80
Adams County: Corn $5.36 Beans $13.76
Audubon County: Corn $5.38 Beans $13.79
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $5.42 Beans $13.77
Guthrie County: Corn $5.41 Beans $13.81
Montgomery County: Corn $5.41 Beans $13.79
Shelby County: Corn $5.42 Beans $13.77

Oats $3.23 (always the same in all counties)

ISU studying women landowners

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 8th, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa State University Extension is beginning a three-year project to study the challenges and opportunities for women landowners. Madeline Schultz is leading the study she says will look at several things facing women. “What some of the barriers are to making good decisions for greater economic profitability as well as conservation decisions, as well as land succession or generational transition decisions,” Schultz says.

Schultz is the program manager for the farm management team’s women in ag program. An I-S-U survey found 47 percent of all acres and 55 percent of all leased acres in Iowa were owned by women. She says there has already been some good research on the issues — including a 2014 U-S-D-A study. “And in that particular study, it revealed that decisions on land owned by women landowners are more likely to be made by the tenants,” she says. Schultz says they want to dig deeper into some of the previous findings. “We’re hoping to build on that and find out how we can support women in making decisions for their land,” Schultz says.

She says another I-S-U survey found that 76 percent of the women landowners are 65 or older. “So what this means for us is that women’s succession decisions are of considerable importance really to the whole farming community — and to the future of our agricultural system,” according to Schultz. She says the survey is the start of their work. Schultz says the next step is to engage women in focus groups and advisory committees to talk with them in small groups — and then they can do some pilot programming to provide them some education.

A survey will be sent to known women landowners in June, and those interested in participating can contact Madeline Schultz at 515-294-0588 or schultz@iastate.edu. The U-S-D-A has provided 300-thousand dollars for the study.

Commodities group upbeat about pending benefits for biofuels producers

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 8th, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Leaders of one of Iowa’s largest commodities groups are optimistic their main priority bill before the state legislature will pass and be sent on to the governor after clearing a recent “funnel” deadline. Mindy Larsen Poldberg, government relations director of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, says the biofuels bill promises a big boost for ethanol and biodiesel producers and retailers. “It will reduce the amount of E-0 sales that will be sold in the state of Iowa, replacing that with E-10,” Poldberg says. “It will increase the amount substantially for money that’s put into infrastructure for E-15 to E-85 and also biodiesel.”

She says an important component of the bill would offer grants to retailers to upgrade their pumps, though it wouldn’t go into effect for several years. “As we move toward that 2028 deadline, that’s why we want to put a significant amount of resources into the infrastructure program,” Poldberg says, “so that retailers can get those grants, up to 70% of a grant, in order to make those higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel available.”

She says the measure has passed the Iowa House Ways and Means Committee, and the full House is its next stop.

Produce in the Park Recruiting Summer Vendors

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 8th, 2021 by Ric Hanson

ATLANTIC, IA (April 8, 2021) – Produce in the Park is gearing up for a great season in the park and recruiting vendors for summer 2021. Produce in the Park is a community-oriented farmers market held every Thursday evening (4:30-6:30 PM) from the beginning of June through the end of September in the beautiful Atlantic City Park.

Both food and craft vendors are welcome to join the market. Vendors can register for the entire season, or sign up for just a few weeks. More information on vending at Produce in the Park can be found at www.produceintheparkatlanticiowa.com. Questions on vending can be directed to Market Manager Brigham Hoegh at produceintheparkatlanticiowa@gmail.com or (712) 249- 5870.

Produce in the Park is looking forward to a fun, safe summer in the park. Live music and preorder drive-through pick-up shopping will both be back for summer 2021.

Stay up to date on the latest with Produce in the Park by signing up for the Produce in the Park newsletter at www.produceintheparkatlanticiowa.com, and following Produce in the Park on Facebook @ProduceInThePark and Instagram @ProduceInTheParkAtlanticIA.

Produce in the Park 2021 summer farmers markets are sponsored by the Atlantic Community Promotion Commission, First Whitney Bank & Trust, Cass County Tourism, and Cass County Health System.

Atlantic FFA Members Participate in the Annual Tractor Ride to School Day


April 7th, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Story by Atlantic FFA Reporter Aspen Nilasen) – To many students, the ride to school usually involves the requirement of driving themselves by motorized vehicles, or having their parents drop them off. But last Friday, March 12th, the Atlantic FFA members had the opportunity to ride to school in a different ride. This “ride” was a part of the annual Tractor Ride to School Day that the Atlantic FFA Chapter conducts every year during the spring. Members who participated met at the Walmart located one mile away from the High School. From there, they drove to the High School in a large line of green, red, and blue tractors.

Picture Left to right
Top Row: Cooper Jipsen, Drey Newell, Dan Freund, Jacob Haupert; Middle Row:
Colton Becker, Wyatt Redinbaugh, Dylan Comes; Bottom Row: DJ Shepperd, Brett Dreager, Chase Vogl, Wyatt Simons, Hudon Goff, Charles Klemmensen, Colton Rudy. (Photo submitted)

This year, 13 members took part in the event. Charles Klemmensen said “I had pride driving my tractor to school! It felt really good seeing people drive by me with big smiles on their faces honking their horns. Representing the Atlantic FFA with my buddies and parking our tractors in front of the school was a great feeling. It was a great experience standing around the tractors and talking with other FFA members and even some non-members who just wandered over because they were interested. I drove a John Deere 455 Lawn Tractor that I took the mowing deck off of. Tractor day is probably one of my favorite days of the year and is a good way of showing the community our pride in our FFA program, as well as a good way to get kids interested in joining. I enjoyed the whole experience and I look forward to future tractor days.”

The following is the list of members who participated in tractor day: Drey Newell, Daniel Fruend, Cooper Jipsen, Wyatt Redinbaugh, Dylan Comes, Wyatt Simons, Hudson Goff, Chase Vogl, Colton Becker, Brett Dreager, Colton Rudy, Jacob Haupert and Charles Klemmensen.





Cass County Master Gardeners to Host Spring Plant Sale May 8

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 7th, 2021 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Master Gardeners are excited to announce the return of their annual Spring Plant Sale for 2021. Cancelled last year as the pandemic prohibited public gathering, the 2021 event promises to have a wide variety of spring perennials available for gardeners looking to update their landscape this year. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday morning, May 8, at the Cass County Community Center, 805 W 10th Street, on the Cass County Fairgrounds. The sale will be open to the public to purchase divided perennials suitable for spring planting, as well as possibly some garden tools and decor.

The sale begins at 8 AM, and will be held in the front parking lot of the Cass County Community Center on the fairgrounds in Atlantic. Interested gardeners are encouraged to arrive early for best plant selection, as the annual spring and fall sales occasionally sell out before 10 AM. Due to the pandemic, several safety measures will be in place for this sale, including recommending the use of masks when interacting with others and completing purchase, spreading out sale items to allow for social distancing, hand sanitizer stations and a one-way traffic flow for shoppers.

Cass County Master Gardeners will be bringing a variety of plants from their own gardens, as well as plants dug from gardens around the community, for this sale. Community members are also welcome to donate plants to this event, and members may even help you dig! If you are dividing perennials in your yard this spring and have extra plants to donate, please call in advance and make arrangements to drop off donated plants before the date of the plant sale. As the event gets closer, the group will be sharing a list of plants expected to be available at the sale. Cass County Master Gardeners use funds from the plant sale to support their scholarships and community grants, as well as projects they do around the county each year.

For more information about these events and about Master Gardener activities in Cass County, please call the Cass County Extension Office at 712-243-1132, or email Cass County Extension Director and Master Gardener Coordinator Kate Olson at keolson@iastate.edu. In addition, you are invited to follow the Cass County Master Gardeners at their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CassCoMG to keep up with local events and tips for gardening. For anyone interested in learning more about the Master Gardener program and becoming a Master Gardener, the next class will begin in August of 2021, with a mix of online and hands-on learning. Find details and sign up on the Iowa Master Gardener website, or call the Cass County Extension office to learn more!

Warmer weather has Iowa farmers itching to start planting


April 7th, 2021 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – High temperatures in the 70s and 80s warmed much of Iowa in the past week and the unseasonable weather is prompting farmers to consider hitting the fields early to plant this year’s crops. Angie Rieck-Hinz, an Iowa State University Extension field agronomist based in Clarion, says planting conditions are approaching ideal. “It’s warm, the soil temperatures are trending upwards and the soil is drying out with these winds,” Rieck-Hinz says. “The soil is fairly dry anyway because we haven’t had a lot of recent moisture so people are itchy to get in and start planting, whether it’s corn or soybeans.”

One of the big concerns for planting now, for one crop in particular, is soil temperature, which is usually measured four inches below the surface. “We want to make sure our soil temperatures for corn planting are at least 50 degrees and trending up,” she says. “Last week, they were making some pretty big swings back and forth because we got warm and then we cooled off, and then we got warm and we cooled off. Obviously, over the weekend, it was really nice so our soil temperatures have rebounded.”

In addition to soil temps, a late season frost is another big worry. “We just need to weigh some pros and cons, basically some risks, to say what’s our risk management if we get a frost,” Rieck-Hinz says. “You remember May 5th last year? We got a nice, killing frost. We had some soybeans that were in the ground and up. We dinged soybeans pretty good in some places last year because of that May 5th frost.”

The forecast for the rest of the week promises several chances of showers and mild temperatures for much of Iowa.

Cass County Extension Report 4-7-2021

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

April 7th, 2021 by Jim Field

w/Kate Olson.