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KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Gov. Reynolds signed legislation into law to lower taxes on renewable fuels

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 30th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – Today (Tuesday), Iowa Gov. Reynolds signed Senate File 2403, legislation that will lower the cost of E-15 and higher blends of renewable fuels in Iowa by changing how the state taxes higher-blend biofuels. The governor signed the bill during her weekly press conference at Pine Lake Corn Processors in Steamboat Rock. “Iowa continues to lead on innovative ways to drive demand for biofuels,” said Gov. Reynolds. “This legislation makes higher blend biofuels even cheaper at the pump while driving demand for homegrown renewable fuel.”

The governor also announced an additional $7 million in funding, through the federal CARES act, for the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program. This state program offers cost-share dollars to fuel retailers who install or convert their equipment to allow the expanded use of renewable fuels in Iowa.  Yesterday, Governor Reynolds joined a bipartisan group of governors from Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska, calling on EPA Administrator Wheeler to reject the excessive number of retroactive small refinery exemptions to the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. The law exists for a reason and we need the EPA to stand by it.

2020 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion cancelled

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 30th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – For the first time in 69 years, there will not be a Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mount Pleasant. The Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers board of directors  has decided to cancel the event, held for five days every year, always ending on Labor Day. The Reunion draws thousands of people from all over the United States and around the world. Terry McWilliams, the C-E-O and administrator, says the health implications of holding the Reunion could have had a far reaching impact. “The safety and the health and the well-being of our visitors, our volunteers — all of that played a key factor in making this decision,” McWilliams says. “We waited as long as we could…Every day things changed — the loss of key volunteers, the loss of community civic groups doing their support because people are scared — and that has an impact.”

McWilliams says expense estimates were going up and up every day as they navigated through necessary health precautions they’d have to take to hold the event. Plans are now focused the 2021 Old Threshers Reunion.

Ernst and Greenfield spar over getting rid of EPA’s Wheeler

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 29th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — Republican Senator Joni Ernst and Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield are both criticizing the E-P-A administrator’s handling of federal ethanol policy — and each questions the other’s commitment to promoting the corn-based fuel. Greenfield says Ernst never should have voted to confirm a lobbyist from the fossil fuels industry to lead the agency. “I am calling for the EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler to step down immediately,” Greenfield said, “and I am calling for Senator Ernst to ask him to do the same and to Iowa first.”

Ernst says she threatened to call for Wheeler’s resignation last October if he didn’t follow through on the president’s promises to the ethanol industry — and Ernst ridicules Greenfield for getting Wheeler’s name wrong in a press conference. “Whatever she was calling him, a couple of different names…if you really are interested, you know, make sure that you’ve been engaging,” Ernst says, “and it’s only recently that she has started to engage in the RFS.”

Ernst says she’s been working on ethanol policy for at least a decade, starting when she was a member of the state senate.  “I’m glad that she’s finally paying attention to the RFS, good for her, but a little bit late,” Ernst says. Both Ernst and Greenfield are critical of the Trump Administration’s consideration of waivers that would let oil refineries escape the requirement to blend ethanol into gasoline. Ernst has recently blocked a senate vote on a man nominated to be the deputy administrator of the E-P-A — as a way of protesting the consideration of those waivers.

National FFA Convention and Expo to go virtual this fall

Ag/Outdoor

June 29th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Brownfield Ag News) – The 2020 National FFA Convention and Expo will be held virtually. National FFA CEO Mark Poeschl says at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic the organization began working on two parallel paths- what a reduced-sized convention would look like and what a virtual convention would look like. He said it became clear that hosting a virtual convention was the only reasonable option. “By making the decision now it gives us a full four months to plan what we anticipate will be a truly remarkable virtual experience for many more students across the country,” he says. Poeschl says more details on the program and registration will be released August 12.

“We’ve already been working on what a virtual FFA Blue Room would look like, we’re identifying what we could do in terms of an expo experience, we’re evaluating how we could have some sort of concert experience, as well as what I would consider the normal sessions of keynote speakers, retiring address, and award presentations,” he says. He says the National FFA Organization looks forward to returning to Indianapolis with an in-person convention in 2021 as part of its long-term hosting partnership that will now run through 2033.

The event will be hosted by the 2019-2020 National FFA Officer Team. The team will travel to Indianapolis in July to help with planning. The virtual convention will still take place the week of October 28.

U.S. Senators urge EPA to reject “gap-year” RFS waivers

Ag/Outdoor

June 29th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Brownfield Ag News) – A coalition of U.S. Senators is urging the EPA to reject more than 50 so-called “gap-year” RFS waivers recently requested by oil refiners. In a letter, the Senators say the waiver petitions should not even be entertained because they are inconsistent with the 10th Circuit Court decision, Congressional intent, the EPA’s own guidance, and most importantly the interests of farmers and rural communities who rely on the biofuels industry.

Renewable Fuels Association president Geoff Cooper issued a statement applauding the bipartisan group of Senators for exposing the absurdity of the oil industry’s latest ploy to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the sole purpose of the retroactive exemptions is to circumvent the law at the expense of rural families struggling to get back on their feet. She contends there’s no justification for allowing the petitions to hang over the market, saying it injects uncertainty into America’s agricultural recovery. Kurt Kovarik with the National Biodiesel Board says a new flood of unlawful small refinery exemptions is guaranteed to compound the economic challenges soybean farmers and biodiesel producers are facing.

Among the Senators who signed the letter to EPA were Tammy Duckworth and Richard Durbin of Illinois, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith from Minnesota, Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley of Missouri, Nebraska’s Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Mike Rounds and John Thune of South Dakota, and Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin.

Iowa company’s soy-based product helps scrub the mess protesters leave behind

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 29th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Many recent protests have left public places marred by spray painted slogans and an Iowa-based company is helping clean it up, in locales ranging from Old Capitol in Iowa City to the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. Jeff Gard is spokesman for Natural Soy Products, headquartered in Brooklyn, Iowa. Gard says the company’s Graffiti Remover is made with soybean oil and it’s 100-percent eco-friendly. “The user either sprays it on and depending on the surface, it can be wiped off with a rag or a towel,” Gard says. “Several places that are using our product right now are spraying it on, letting it sit for 10, 15, 20 minutes, and they’re using a high-pressure sprayer to take it off.”

The product is designed to remove spray paint from nearly any surface, including brick and concrete. Gard says their clients include the City of Los Angeles which used it on the L-A Post Office and along the Walk of Fame, while others are much closer to home. “The City of Iowa City, a couple of weeks ago with all the situation going on there, has purchased a substantial amount of our product,” Gard says. “That’s what they’re doing, cleaning up all of the graffiti that’s been tagged on all the local municipalities and the statues and everything.”

The University of Iowa is also a client. The company uses soybean oil in a host of industrial products, including a paint stripper, a concrete sealer and a highway joint compound.

Changes in store for the Cass County Fair

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 27th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Cass County Fair Board had decided to cancel all non- 4H and FFA activities for the 2020 Cass County Fair. At that time, officials said all youth activities would be held in a “Show and Go,” or other, modified format. Now, officials have indicated livestock shows will be live streamed whenever possible, and will also be archived online for later viewing. All judging results will be shared as soon as available via website, social media and with local print and radio media.

To maintain the health and safety of our exhibitors, staff and volunteers, the Cass County Fairboard respectfully asks that only members of the exhibitors’ immediate family (those living in the same household) be present in person for any live shows. Only shows/judging held outdoors will allow any spectators. All spectators are asked to maintain at least 6 foot distance from other households, follow hand-washing and sanitizing procedures in common areas, and bring their own seating, as bleacher space will be extremely limited or unavailable. All exhibitors and spectators must be off the grounds by one hour after the last show of the night to allow for cleaning of show areas.

The FFA Food stand will be open limited hours, with a limited menu, during livestock show days. Additional details coming soon. As no other food will be available on grounds, exhibitors may bring their own food, but large coolers and multi-family picnics and potlucks are strongly discouraged. The Cass County Fair continues to be an alcohol-free fair.

View the latest schedule of events, here.

2020 Adair County Fair 4-H/FFA Shows and Exhibits Different Format Due to COVID-19

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

The Adair County ISU Extension office, in partnership with the Adair County Fair Board, are experiencing unprecedented times as we move forward quickly and cautiously with plans for the 2020 Adair County Fair. The COVID-19 pandemic is having a large impact and influence on what the 4-H/FFA fair experience will look like this year. In fact, COVID-19 is causing the cancellation of many fairs, events, and festivals both in Iowa and around the nation.

Adair County Extension staff continue to gather information daily from public health authorities, CDC guidelines, emergency management, and ISU Extension and Outreach guidelines and restrictions, so we may do our due diligence to keep our youth, staff, fair volunteers, and visitors as safe as possible during this extremely challenging time. This will not be a normal fair experience. However, we are working hard to create an environment that highlights the hard work of our youth, while providing a modified platform to create a safer experience.

In the interest of public health, Adair County Extension is creating plans to implement procedures to follow regarding mandated CDC guidelines with social distancing, added signage, additional hand sanitizers and increased sanitation procedures throughout all of our events. As a reminder, if you feel you are sick, vulnerable, showing symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, we ask that you please stay home. We understand families and friends will need to come to their own decision on whether to participate and/or attend this year’s fair. We ask that you adhere to CDC guidelines and keep a social distance of six feet or more from others.

This year’s 4-H/FFA mission for fair is to provide an opportunity to showcase all that 4-H and FFA youth have learned, skills they have gained, and life lessons they have experienced which will help them in their future endeavors. We are concentrating on how their projects and livestock exhibits have taught them valuable lessons and how it will help to empower them as they move forward in life. This year is not necessarily about the competitions and rewards. It is more about resiliency, persistence and the gaining of knowledge.

Please check the Facebook page ‘Adair County ISU Extension’ or website at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/adair/ for the latest information.

Iowa State Fair to host ‘special edition’ for FFA and 4H members

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Due to COVID-19, the Iowa State Fair will not go on this summer, but something called the 2020 Fair Special Edition is now on the schedule. The state fair’s website says the special edition will be held at the fairgrounds in Des Moines over three weekends in August. It’ll be an opportunity for only FFA and 4-H members to showcase their animals.

The site says the edition will focus on the superior showmanship, hard work, and determination of Iowa’s youth. Each club will have the traditional categories, including cattle, horses, goats, poultry, rabbits, sheep and swine. The fair says it will follow all recommendations for social distancing, hand washing and sanitization.

https://www.iowastatefair.org/participate/competition/how-to-enter/

Movie in the Park coming to Cold Springs State Park July 3rd

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning reports the Cass County Conservation Board is holding a “Movie in the Park” Campground Program next month! Kanning says they will be showing “Arctic Dogs” at the Campground Shelter at Cold Springs Park, in Lewis, on Friday July 3rd 2020, starting at 9:30 pm. There is no charge for the show. Social distancing is encouraged, with marked spaces for each family, during the movie.

Kanning invites you to “Come out for a great movie under the stars! Bring a blanket or chair, snacks, Dress for the weather.” She says also, “We may reschedule at a later date if it rains.” You DO NOT have to be a registered camper to attend the program.