KJAN Ag/Outdoor

Iowa Pork Congress is called off due to COVID, adding to Des Moines’ woes

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 3rd, 2020 by Ric Hanson

On the same day Des Moines leaders announced coronavirus would cost the city 25-million dollars in lost revenue this fiscal year, the Iowa Pork Producers Association added to the misery by cancelling next month’s Iowa Pork Congress. Association spokeswoman Dal Grooms

“This is going to be our 49th Pork Congress, or it was going to be,” Grooms says. “We’re still having some events. We’re going to have an awards event and we’ll be holding our annual meeting, just as we do every year.” The event was slated for January 27th and 28th. The annual meeting will still be held in-person on January 26th and it’ll include the Master Pork Producers Awards program as well as the announcement of the 2021 Iowa Pork Youth Leadership Team.

“A lot of people really enjoy that, they like to see who the master pork producers are, and that is going to be available virtually,” Grooms says. “We also have some educational seminars that we hold every year, and those, too, will be available so that people can tune in from home and listen and get some information that they can apply to their farms.” The popular Taste of Elegance restaurant event, which usually kicks off the Iowa Pork Congress, was also postponed.

“We do hope to hold that later in the year,” Grooms says. “It’s a great opportunity for Iowa restaurants to show us what they’ve got in terms of pork and what they share with their customers as well.” The Iowa Pork Congress is billed as North America’s most successful winter swine trade show and conference. The next show is scheduled for January 26-27, 2022.

Federal farm payments doubled in 2020, net farm income jumps 43%

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 3rd, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The U-S-D-A is forecasting net farm income for 2020 will jump 43 percent over last year, reaching a seven-year high of nearly 120 BILLION dollars. Ag economist David Widmar is with the consulting firm Agricultural Economic Insights.  “I would summarize this as an update of a pretty dramatic upswing in the farm economy,” he says. The previous U-S-D-A forecast was released in early September. “It was about seven or eight weeks in August and September that the farm economy got to sort of the edge of looking really, really bleak,” he says, “and then all of a sudden things started turning favorably.”

Widmar uses the word “dramatic” to describe the jump in commodity prices since September. There have also been record direct government payments to farmers in 2020, more than double the amount in 2019, as the Trump Administration made extra farm payments for trade disruptions and the pandemic. Government payments will account for 39 percent of net farm income in 2020 according to the U-S-D-A.”$40-plus billion in direct payments,” he says, “a historically high level of direct payments.”

Adjusting for inflation, 2011 and 2013 were the only other years when net farm income has been higher. Widmar cautions, though, that not ever farmer is making a profit, especially when considering livestock and dairy prices.

Cass County Extension Report 12-2-2020

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

December 2nd, 2020 by Jim Field

w/Kate Olson.


State officials updating list of impaired lakes, ponds, rivers and streams

Ag/Outdoor, News

December 2nd, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – A draft list from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources indicates 750 segments of lakes, rivers and streams in Iowa are impaired due to pollution and are not suitable for at least one of its intended uses, like swimming or as a source of drinking water. Ken Krier, a D-N-R environmental specialist, describes Iowa’s water quality as stable.

“I don’t know if we can really point to one direction or the other,” he says. “You know, last cycle from 2016-2018, there was a 2% increase and we’re at a 2% decrease this cycle.” The state is required by federal law to update the list of impaired waters every two years. This is the first time in more than two decades there’s been a decrease in the total number of bodies of water classified as impaired.

Alicia Vasto of the Iowa Environmental Council says with hundreds of bodies of water still on the impaired list, state officials must establish regulations that limit pollution. “We believe that the voluntary approach that the state is taking to water quality is not sufficient,” she says. The list is a draft and Iowans may submit written comments to the D-N-R about the list this month, before it’s submitted to federal officials.

DNR seeking comments on proposed laws ahead of the 2021/22 deer hunting season


December 1st, 2020 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is asking for public input on two laws passed and signed during the 2020 legislative session. The first is from House File 716 that directs the DNR to develop a list of cartridges approved for use in rifles to hunt deer in Iowa.  The following list of cartridges is proposed for inclusion:

.350 Legend .429 DE
.35 Remington .44 Wildey Mag
.356 TSW .44 Remington Magnum
.357 Sig .44 Automag
9×25 Dillion .445 Super Mag
9×23 Winchester .45 Super
.357 Magnum .45 Wildey Mag
.357 Maximum .450 Bushmaster
.357 SuperMag .45 Winchester Magnum
.357 Wildey Mag .451 Detonics
.357/44 Bain & Davis .454 Casull
.375 Winchester .45 Silhouette
.38-55 Winchester .458 Socom
10 mm Auto .460 Rowland
.40 Super .475 Wildey Magnum
.401 Powermag .475 Linebaugh
.400 Cor-Bon .480 Ruger
.38-40 Winchester .50 GI
.41 Remington Magnum .50 Action Express
.41 Wildey Mag .50 Beowulf
.414 SuperMag .500 JRH
.44-40 Winchester .500 Special
.440 Cor-Bon .500 Wyoming Express

Allowable cartridges for use in handguns that were considered for use in rifles but deemed ballistically dissimilar from allowable pistol or revolver cartridges include (these cartridges are NOT proposed for inclusion to the list of allowable rifles to hunt deer in Iowa):

.35 Whelen
.356 Winchester
.358 Winchester
.444 Marlin
.45 Raptor
.45-70 Govt.
.460 S&W Mag
.500 S&W Mag

Hunters interested in additions or subtractions are asked to send their request along with a brief justification to by Dec. 14, 2020.

The second is House File 2455 that requires hunters and dogs to be trained prior to tracking wounded deer. In order to satisfy this requirement, the DNR proposes to provide a form to document the hunter and the dog’s blood tracking training and experience. This form would be kept on file for three years and the hunter and dog(s) would be eligible to track wounded deer during that period. Hunters receiving trespassing or other violations in the act of tracking wounded deer will be deemed “not trained” until a formal blood tracking certification is obtained.

Hunters interested in commenting on this proposed approach are asked to send their ideas to by Dec. 14, 2020.

NRCS Provides $2 Million in Derecho Disaster Assistance


December 1st, 2020 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, IOWA, Dec. 1, 2020 – The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has preapproved the funding of 150 applications totaling more than $2 million across 26 Iowa counties to help farmers affected by the Aug. 10 Derecho windstorm apply or replace damaged conservation practices on their land. NRCS will fund disaster recovery applications through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – a voluntary program in which NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to ag producers to address natural resource concerns.

Of the 150 applications:

•                     142 are for seeding cover crops to protect soil from erosion and to keep a living root in the soil until the 2021 planting season;

•                     6 are to replace previously USDA-funded high tunnel systems that many fruit and vegetable growers use to help extend the growing season and improve crop quality; and

•                     2 are to replace previously USDA-funded roofs or covers on livestock waste storage facilities.

Scott County had the most applicants with 24, followed by Linn County with 16, and Benton and Tama Counties with 12 apiece. Approved applicants will receive higher EQIP payment rates than normal due to the special disaster recovery. NRCS offered an early start waiver that allowed applicants to implement the conservation practice before the application was officially approved.

Iowa farmers were unable to harvest an estimated 850,000 cropland acres this fall, due to Derecho winds that blew as hard as 140 miles per hour. For more information about conservation practices and programs for your land, contact your local NRCS office or go to USDA Service Centers are temporarily restricting in-person visits in Iowa because of elevated rates of coronavirus community spread, but USDA employees will continue to assist agricultural producers with programs and services.

Donated deer hides benefit disabled veterans

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

November 28th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(IA DNR) Hunters donated more than 4,100 deer hides to Elks Lodges across Iowa last year, which was a slight decrease from the 2018-2019 season. The Iowa DNR says the deer hides are used by the Veterans Leather Program to make professionally-crafted leather gloves for veterans in wheelchairs and also turned into leather used for therapy programs for recovering veterans.

The Veterans Leather Program relies on the charity of hunters to donate their deer hides. Hunters willing to donate their hides are encouraged to contact the local Elks Lodge for drop off locations or visit to find the nearest lodge. The therapeutic kits and gloves are distributed at no cost to the veterans.

Iowa deer exchange attracts over 300 participants

Ag/Outdoor, Sports

November 28th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(IA DNR) – The inaugural season for the Iowa Deer Exchange has attracted 350 Iowans who indicated they were interested in receiving venison and 60 hunters willing to provide it.  The deer exchange, along with the Help us Stop Hunger (HUSH) program, allows hunters an opportunity to provide high quality lean protein to their neighbors, while continuing to do what they enjoy – hunting deer. Officials say they are pleased with the participation we’ve seen thus far, and the large number of registered recipients shows there’s an audience who wants venison. They’re encouraging hunters who are making their plans now to consider picking up another doe tag and registering to donate venison.

To sign up for the Iowa Deer Exchange, go to then scroll down to Iowa’s Deer Exchange Program link and fill out the required fields. The database creates a map and table with information deer donors and deer recipients can use to get connected. There is no cost to participate. It is illegal to sell wild fish and game in Iowa.

Hunter who prefer to use the HUSH program are encouraged to contact a participating locker before they harvest a deer to see if the locker has any additional drop off instructions. The list of participating lockers is available at the scroll down to the Help Us Stop Hunger link. The HUSH program is a partnership between the Iowa DNR, the Food Bank of Iowa and participating meat lockers.

Economist predicts 2021 to be a good year for ag sector

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says this year’s increase in farm income is leading to an increase in farmland prices. “Farmers are out there and they’re feeling better about the economy, but unfortunately we’re not seeing it in the businesses on what we call ‘Rural Mainstreet,'” Goss says. Every month, Goss surveys rural bankers for a Rural Mainstreet Index. His latest survey indicates the economy in Iowa and nine other states in the Great Plains and Mountain West will dip in the current 4th quarter.

“It looks like we’re hitting a hiccup in the global economy and a hiccup in the US economy and, for that matter, in the regional economy,” Goss says. “Growth is just slowing down and potentially moving what was a V shaped recovery into a W shaped recovery — in other words, back down into the recession.” But Goss says farmland and commodity prices have beem climbing fairly dramatically this fall, leading to optimism in the ag sector. About a third of U.S. farm income this year will have come, though, from the Trump Administration’s payments to make up for trade losses and Goss says those are likely to end with the Trump presidency.

“On the flip side, we’re likely to see the Biden Administration be a little more positive on trade,” Goss says. “…You’ve got some positives and some negatives. I expect 2021 – at least as we sit here now — to be pretty good for the agricultural sector given the expansion on trade.” And Goss says rising global oil prices are generally good news for the state’s ethanol industry as well.

Find beautiful pictures in Iowa to remember this ugly year

Ag/Outdoor, News

November 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Most of us won’t likely remember 2020 fondly but as we enter the year’s home stretch, Iowans are urged to find something beautiful and capture an image of it. Kevin Techau, executive director of Keep Iowa Beautiful, says the organization’s 20th annual photography contest is now accepting entries. “We have five categories: Iowa Landscape, Iowa Water, Iowa Cities, Iowans in Action and Iowa Wildlife,” Techau says. “Contestants can enter as many times as they’d like in any of these categories to capture the beauty of Iowa and we do have prizes to award the best photography.”

Keep Iowa Beautiful was co-founded by former Governor Robert Ray in 2000 as a way to help communities make the state a better place to live, work and raise a family. Photography was one of Ray’s favorite hobbies, so the photo contest has been an annual staple ever since. A panel is being assembled to narrow down the best entries. “We’re going to have a round of judges that will pick winners from each of the five and those will go into the Robert D. Ray Best of Show Award,” Techau says. “In fact, Governor Ray’s eldest daughter, Randi Ray, will be one of the judges who helps make that decision.”

The contest was expanded this year in honor of the 20th anniversary. “The first prize winner in each of the categories, the prizes are $100, $75 for second and $50 for third place, and then in the Best of Show, first place will be $500, second place $250 and third place $100, and then we’ll have a public award where the public can vote for their favorites and we’ll have $100 prize for the winners in that category.”

There’s a $5 fee for each photo entered with a deadline of December 18th. The rules and entry forms can be found at the website: