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KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Bald eagle found shot to death in Wright County

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 10th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Wright County authorities are investigating the death of a bald eagle that was found last weekend. The eagle was found under a bridge along the Iowa River between Rowan and Dows adjacent to the Groom Wildlife Area. X-rays showed two holes in the head of the eagle. It was reported that the eagle was shot by someone. The Wright County Conservation Board’s Facebook is reporting a reward of $2,000 will be offered to anyone who has information into the shooting of the eagle.

Those with information are asked to call the Iowa DNR Tip hotline at 1-800-532-2020 or to the nearest law enforcement agency.

Judge upholds pollution fine against Iowa cattle farmers

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 9th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

ARMSTRONG, Iowa (AP) — An administrative judge has approved a $76,000 penalty against an Iowa cattle feedlot for violating the Clean Water Act. The judge ruled that Tony and Joshua Brown, who operate Riverview Cattle in Armstrong, discharged pollutants from their cattle feedlot on 41 days into the East Fork of the Des Moines River. The Environmental Protection Agency said the business did not obtain a federally required permit for the discharges.

The cattle company contended the pollutants never reached the river. Administrative Judge Christine Donelian Coughlin agreed with the EPA and found the feedlot liable for Clean Water Act violations.

 

Marking the 50th anniversary of Iowan Norman Borlaug winning the Nobel Peace Prize

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 9th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Fifty years ago this week, the groundbreaking work of a northeast Iowa farmer was recognized on the global stage as Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Barbara Stinson, president of World Food Prize Foundation — which Borlaug founded, says his research in plant genetics mobilized agricultural innovations in Mexico, India and Pakistan over several decades, saving vast populations from starvation.  “He’s actually credited with having saved over a billion lives, more than anyone else in human history,” Stinson says. “They didn’t have an agricultural prize so they awarded him the Peace Prize for his work in agriculture and reducing hunger, which brought much greater peace to the world, particularly in those areas.”

Dr. Norman Borlaug was presented the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his accomplishments in India and Pakistan and for his role as “Father of the Green Revolution.” (photo via worldfoodprize.org)

Borlaug developed a variety of wheat that was high-yield and disease-resistant, while devoting himself to agricultural development projects and the mobilization of food around the world. It earned him the nickname, the father of the Green Revolution. Stinson says, “The elements of this included bringing technology and improving water availability and getting technologies to farmers and advocating farming practices that really created what’s called the Green Revolution.”

Once facing widespread starvation, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963 thanks to Borlaug’s work. Also, between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving the food security of those countries. In the mid-1980s, Borlaug pushed forward with an effort to establish a major prize for agriculture. “Dr. Borlaug founded the World Food Prize Foundation to honor those that are improving the world’s food supply,” Stinson says, “but he was particularly interested in elevating these innovations to inspire other professionals and the younger generation.”

The Des Moines-based foundation awards an annual prize which emphasizes the importance of a nutritious, sustainable food supply for everyone. The award ceremony coincides each year with an international symposium addressing issues related to hunger and food security. Borlaug received degrees in forestry, plant pathology and genetics from the University of Minnesota, where an event is being held Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of his winning the Nobel Prize. The event is called, “Nobel and Beyond: Building on the Legacy of a Hunger Fighter.” “They are convening a very special gathering of alums and students and professors and many dignitaries to talk about the accomplishments of Dr. Norman Borlaug, his inspiration to the rest of the world and in particular, his dedication to education and working with youth.”

In addition to winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Borlaug was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. He died in 2009 at age 95. Borlaug’s farm near Cresco is now a protected preserve that’s open for tours.

ISU expert expects commodity prices to continue upward

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 9th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Farmers have seen a boost in corn and soybean prices since harvest finished and an Iowa State University Extension specialist says indications are the upward trends will continue. Chad Hart says a couple of things have impacted prices. “We saw sort of the combination of the drought and the derecho lowering supplies here for corn and soybeans — along with a definite surge in international sales for both commodities — that has led to a significant price rise here in the past few months,” Hart says.

Hart says farmers may want to consider locking in a price on the futures exchange and begin selling a portion of the yet to be planted 2021 crop. Hart says the big debate is if there will be an additional increase in prices in the next couple of months and he believes the potential is there. He says it is a good time to lock in some prices — but if you want to wait and see how the market develops you could at least put in some price floors utilizing some options that allow you to take advantage if there is an increase this spring.

Hart says soybeans have the biggest potential for increase, but says we haven’t seen the last increases for corn. “Looking forward I think we could see corn continue to rally here as well,” according to Hart. “What has been fascinating about the corn market is that it has been beyond just China — and you are also seeing growth in places like Mexico, Japan, South Korea that is helping push that market along.”

Hart says it’s not just soybeans that the Chinese are purchasing. He says they have an interest in acquiring many other types of commodities. He says they have tripled their purchases compared to last year with corn purchases up 18-thousand percent this year compared to last year. He says they are very active too in the wheat, pork, beef, and broiler markets. Hart says given the current predictions, U-S farmers may find themselves with low inventory supplies with corn and soybeans later in the year.

SIRE Announces Resignation of Hubert M. Houser

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 9th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

PRNewswire — Officials with Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC (“SIRE”), Tuesday, announced the resignation Hubert M. Houser as a member of SIRE’s board of directors and chair of the Board’s Nominating Committee, effective immediately.

Houser served as a member of the Board since 2005. He is a lifelong owner of farm, cow-calf and poultry operation located near Carson.  Houser also served in the Iowa Legislature from 1992 to 2015, first in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate (from 2002 to 2015).  He served on the Pottawattamie County Board of Supervisors from 1978 to 1992. Prior to joining the Company, Houser served as a director of the Riverbend Industrial Park and was a founder of the Iowa Western Development Association and Golden Hills RC&D.

Karol King, Chairman of SIRE’s Board of Directors said: “Hubert Houser is one of the key founders of SIRE, having worked for years to attract additional industry, in particular value-added ag business, to Pottawattamie County and southwest Iowa. Hubert’s leadership and vision included strategic steps to assemble sufficient real estate for SIRE, in advance of the Company’s formation. The respect for Hubert’s long history of public service and his experience with public entities and private business were key to SIRE over and over through the years.”

Until his resignation, Mr. Houser served as the chair of the Board’s Nominating Committee. The Board has appointed Theodore Bauer to serve as the chair of the Nominating Committee.

SIRE is located on 275 acres in Council Bluffs, and operates a 140 million gallon per year ethanol plant. SIRE began producing ethanol in February 2009 and sells its ethanol, distillers grains, corn syrup, and corn oil in the continental United States, Mexico and the Pacific Rim.

Adair County farmer wins Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Discussion Meet

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 8th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

Officials with the Iowa Farm Bureau report Beth Baudler, of Fontanelle, was selected as the winner of Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Young Farmer Discussion Meet, held virtually on Dec. 1st. Baudler will represent Iowa in the Young Farmer and Rancher National Discussion Meet during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Annual Convention, also to be held virtually, in January 2021.

Baudler helps on her family farm where they grow hay, oats, corn and soybeans, and manages her own cow-calf herd and sheep flock. She works off-farm as a cattle nutritionist and co-product specialist and instructs an animal breeding and genetics course at Southwestern Community College in Creston. She also is passionate about promoting agriculture through Ag 4 All, a collaboration of Adair County commodity groups and more than 150 local volunteers, who bring educational ag programs to local communities and highlight area farmers on the “Who’s Your Iowa Farmer?” Facebook page.

Second place winner for the Iowa competition was Shelby Smith, a cricket farmer out of Story County; in third, Krista Huntsman, a Montgomery County cattle farmer; and fourth, dairy farmer Megan Kregel of Clayton County.

The Young Farmer Discussion Meet is a unique competition in which participants, ages 18-35, are scored based on their ability to engage in a “cooperative” 30-minute discussion on challenges impacting agriculture and rural America. Contestants are awarded points based on their ability to seek solutions, listen to each other’s viewpoints and engage in cooperative dialogue.

Eight contestants secured their spot to participate in the semi-final rounds by competing at the IFBF Young Farmer Conference held this January. This year’s questions focused on international trade, rural broadband access, the risks and rewards of “big data”, sustainable farm practices to address climate and rural economic stability.

As the top Iowa finalist, Baudler received a one-year/100-hour lease on a Cat Skid Steer Loader ($10,000 value) and an expense paid trip to the 2021 GROWMARK annual meeting, pending conference planning. Smith received a $500 value Choice Hotels certificate, $500 Cat gift certificate and a $500 gift card to FAST STOP or local FS Cooperative from GROWMARK. Huntsman received a $500 Cat gift certificate, a YETI cooler from Farm Bureau Financial Services and six park passes with a cabana rental at Adventureland. Kregel received a $250 gift card to FAST STOP or their local FS Cooperative from GROWMARK, six park passes with a cabana rental at Adventureland and $100 from the IFBF Young Farmer Program.

Farmers are catching flak over report on widespread water pollution

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 8th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The leader of one of Iowa’s largest agricultural groups says some people wrongly blame farmers for the recent report that finds 750 segments of Iowa’s lakes, rivers and streams are impaired by pollution. Mike Paustian, of Walcott, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, says it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect the environment.

“People who live in the urban areas want to point at the farmers and say they need to change what they’re doing,” Paustian says, “and the farmers want point at people in the cities and say, ‘No, you need to change what you’re doing,’ but the reality is, we all need to work together and we all need to do our part to try and solve this problem.” The report released last week by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources shows 61-percent of the state’s rivers and streams and 67-percent of lakes and reservoirs are impaired.

Paustian says most of pork producers are proactive in protecting the state’s waters and they have flow meters on their manure application equipment. “They know exactly how many gallons per acre they’re putting on. It’s really gotten fine-tuned,” Paustian says. “As we look to implement additional practices in the field, above and beyond what we’re already doing, we’ll just continue to get better.” Following the release of the D-N-R report, environmental activists started calling for a moratorium on all large agricultural operations. Paustian says that’s unfair.

“It’s a little bit of a disingenuous argument to try to make it about size,” Paustian says. “We have producers of all sizes in Iowa and it really doesn’t matter what size you are, you can still do a good job with your nutrient management or a bad job. It’s up to the individual. Size doesn’t really have much to do with it.” Paustian says many producers are growing cover crops where they’re able to apply manure and keep the beneficial impacts in the soil.

Produce in the Park Hosting Christmas Pop-Up Market

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 7th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

ATLANTIC, IA (December 6, 2020) – Produce in the Park is hosting a Christmas farmers market. The Christmas Pop-Up Market will offer pre-order drive-through pick-up only (there will
be no in-person shopping, in order to comply with state mandates). Pre-orders will be accepted from Saturday December 12 – Saturday December 19. Purchases can be picked up on
Monday, December 21 at the Cass County Community Center between 2:00 – 6:00 PM.

The pop-up market is being held the Monday before Christmas so customers can pick up local baked goods, jellies, meats, and more to enjoy at their holiday meals. The market also offers
holiday gifts and winter home décor by local crafters and artisans. Vendors interested in participating in the Christmas market should contact the market manager at produceintheparkatlanticiowa@gmail.com by Wednesday, December 9.

Event details, including vendors, and information on pre-orders will be posted on Produce in the Park’s website www.produceintheparkatlanticiowa.com and on the Produce in the Park
Facebook page www.facebook.com/ProduceInThePark.

Hog and cattle prices likely to rise in 2021

Ag/Outdoor

December 7th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa livestock producers can expect to see rising prices for hogs and cattle in the coming year, according to an agricultural economist at the Iowa State University Extension. Lee Schultz says after several quarters of expansion within the hog industry, we’re starting to see signs of the hog numbers retreating, which should lead to slightly higher prices. “Sow numbers were lower compared to a year ago when we look back to September 1,” Schultz says. “Farrowing intentions were expected to be lower, but also, that was at much lower prices and price expectations back in September, as we’ve seen stronger prices now.” Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Schultz says pork exports have held fairly strong.

“Pork exports have been tremendous this year,” Schultz says. “When you look through the early part of November, they’re up 21%. Really, you have to point to China being a big contributor there and expectations are that we will continue to see strength through the end of the year.” Schultz says beef exports have also been good, and look to remain strong heading into 2021. He says what has benefited livestock producers most during the pandemic is that meat products were able to retain value.

“We’ve seen slightly larger exports compared to a year ago levels, but still, relatively large exports and the value remains there,” Schultz says. “I think that’s what got lost somewhat during all of these major disruptions is that these products still flow to the highest value markets and a lot of times they’re export markets.” Schultz says throughout the time of the COVID-19 outbreak, demand for meat products held strong. He says we saw a major shift from consumer demand at restaurants to increased demand at grocery stores. Now, we’re starting to see a resumption of food service which has lead to a higher demand for meat products. On Wednesday, Schultz will participate in a statewide online “Pro-Ag” conference seminar focusing on the livestock marketing outlook.

Forecast is promising for busy start to deer hunting season tomorrow

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

December 4th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – With clear skies and highs in the 40s forecast for much of Iowa this weekend, it’s expected to be an extremely busy opening weekend for shotgun deer season. Tyler Harms, a biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the fields and forests will be full of hunters. “It’s our most popular deer hunting season of the year,” Harms says. “We expect to see about 120,000 hunters in the field hunting deer in the next few weekends. The weather forecast for this weekend looks really great.”

Harms says those hunters should find a target-rich environment in many parts of Iowa. “So far this year, our harvest is trending right along about where we were at this time last year,” Harms says. “That’s a good sign. That indicates to us the population is fairly similar to where it was last year and things are looking good for this weekend.” Harms says there are a few key changes in deer hunting regulations this year, like allowing for antlerless deer hunting in seven north-central Iowa counties. “That is something that we have not allowed in previous years, mostly to allow the population to recover to goal levels,” he says, “but our data suggests the population is increasing so we’re allowing antlerless harvest in those counties.”

Harms reminds all hunters to review their safety training. “Have a plan and hunt your plan, make sure you’re wearing plenty of blaze orange,” Harms says. “Also, be mindful of your shot. Make sure you know what your target is and what’s beyond your target.” Hours for shotgun deer season are from sunrise and sunset. The first shotgun deer season runs from December 5th to the 9th, with the second season running December 12th to the 20th.