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DNR investigating wastewater discharge in Fort Dodge

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 5th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

FORT DODGE, Iowa— Iowa DNR environmental specialists responded to a wastewater discharge to surface water between the Fort Dodge Industrial Park and the City of Fort Dodge on Thursday.  Officials say a leak from a force main carrying mixed wastewater from both the Cargill Ethanol plant and the CJ Bio America Lysine production plant to the city’s wastewater treatment plant entered a surface water intake that was eventually discharged to Lizard Creek. The bypass was reported to the DNR on Thursday but believed to have started Wednesday evening. Wastewater was rerouted early Thursday morning through another force main to the wastewater treatment plant. Wastewater entered a surface intake in a cornfield and discharged to a drainage ditch, which flows into Lizard Creek.

Samples from Lizard Creek have been collected and based on preliminary results, ammonia and oxygen levels appear to test normal.  No impact to aquatic life has been documented as a result of the bypass. Repairs to the force main are to be completed this (Friday) morning. The DNR still encourages caution for anyone in the area of the discharge and reminds residents to keep children and pets away from the discharge area for the next 24 to 48 hours. DNR staff will be onsite again today (Friday), to evaluate Lizard Creek.

Cass County Fair Plans Change for 2020; Youth Events to Continue With New Format

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 5th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Fair Board met Thursday, June 4th, and decided to cancel all non-4-H and FFA Activities for the 2020 Cass County Fair. All youth contests will be held in a “show and go” or other modified format. Please stay tuned as we plan to announce additional details for individual contests in the coming weeks.

Officials said their primary consideration, “Is the health and safety of our community and fair supporters. We understand the value of gathering as a community, and we do not take this decision lightly.”

The Board said also, :To our valued sponsors, you will be hearing directly from the fair board soon. To our many supporters, we hope you will plan to join us for the 2021 Cass County Fair on July 28-August 3. We thank you for your many years of support, and for your understanding as we navigate these uncertain times together.”

Grow Another Row Cass County weekly newsletter (6/4/20)

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 4th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

“Grow Another Row, Cass County!” is a campaign to encourage residents to grow more food to share in 2020. The campaign is launching to address food challenges created by COVID-19, as
more people are finding themselves needing a little extra help keeping food on the table.

Denise O’Brien of Rolling Acres Farm with her tomatoes in 2019.

Most Wanted Produce: According to ISU Extension, the 13 best produce donations are:
tomatoes, winter squash, zucchini, potatoes, onions, peppers, cucumbers, melons, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, carrots, and beans.

Now is a great time to plant green beans.

Pole beans need a trellis to climb on but save some strain on the back at harvest time! A bean trellis can be as simple as planting along the garden

Can you grow another row of tomatoes?

Denise O’Brien of Rolling Acres Farm is focused on producing greenhouse raised plants to help people start their own gardens. This year she’s
giving away free tomato plants to people growing another row. Learn more about Rolling Acres Farm and contact Denise through her website, or find Rolling Acres
Farm on Facebook @RollingAcresAtlanticIowa. Thank you to Rolling Acres Farm for the support!!

How do your tomatoes grow??
Do your tomatoes often get overgrown and hard to pick? Trellising or caging gets those plants (and tomatoes) up off the ground, making them easier to pick and preventing rot. Additionally,
pruning excess foliage from indeterminate varieties will increase fruit set and speed up ripening. Indeterminate varieties produce leaves and flowers continuously through the growing
season. To prune effectively, pick one main growing stem and remove all other leaves and ‘suckers.’ Suckers are the little shoots that form in the axil where the leaf stem attaches to the
main growing stem.

For more information, please contact:
Brigham Hoegh, Wellness Coordinator
Cass County ISU Extension

For more gardening tips and to sign up to participate in Grow Another Row visit

Ag Equipment dealer theft reported in Shenandoah

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 4th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in western/southwest Iowa are investigating separate burglaries and thefts from an ag-equipment dealer. Police in Shenandoah say a burglary took place last Saturday evening at Vetter Equipment, in Shenandoah. Authorities say the suspects entered the building a little after 8:15-p.m., and in a security camera video, were seen loading into a trailer, tools and equipment worth $50,000-to-$80,000. Most of the items stolen were STIHL brand equipment, including leaf blowers, chainsaws, weed eaters, trimmers and other materials. Police were working to try and get the license plate of the vehicle pulling the trailer.

A similar break-in and theft occurred at Vetter Equipment, in Onawa. Additional information about that incident is currently not available. Anyone with information about the burglary at Vetter Equipment in Shenandoah, is asked to call Shenandoah Police at 712-246-3512.

Cass County Extension Report 6-3-2020

Ag/Outdoor, Podcasts

June 3rd, 2020 by Jim Field

w/Kate Olson.


Celebrate a child’s first fish


June 3rd, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Iowa DNR) – Preserve the memory of your child or grandchild hooking their first fish this summer with a special certificate. Print the certificate yourself from an electronic file posted online or request a printed certificate. Apply for a first fish certificate online at It’s easy and free to participate. There are no size, species or age requirements – only that it is the very first fish the angler has successfully landed.

Family and friends can join in on the celebration by viewing the first catch photos of their kids and other budding anglers on the First Fish webpage once the entry is approved. Give your kids a lifetime of BIG memories out on the water this summer. Follow the simple tips for taking kids fishing on the Iowa DNR website at to help keep the experience fun and positive for the whole family.

Take a walk in Iowa State Parks: 20 Walks in 2020

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 3rd, 2020 by Ric Hanson

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Iowa state parks, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources DNR partnered with three organizations, the Iowa Walking Club, the Nebraska Wander Freunde Trailblazers, and Iowa Parklands, to create 5k and 10k walking routes in 20 Iowa state parks. Maps and directions are free and available for download at The 5k and 10k walks are intended for visitors to explore on their own or with a small group. Route starting points are marked with a Walk Box containing free maps, along with supplies for walking club members to submit donations as part of their membership. Walkers who are not members may use the maps and enjoy the walking routes as a free service for the 100th anniversary celebration.

The Iowa Walking Club and Nebraska Wander Freunde Trailblazers are non-profit organizations dedicated to physical fitness for all ages through long-distance walking and encourage social connections through membership. Both organizations are part of the American Volkssport Association. Iowa Parklands is an Iowa-based company that creates state park-themed maps and merchandise. Parks included in 20 Walks in 2020 are:

  • Beeds Lake
  • Big Creek
  • Geode
  • Lake Anita
  • Lake Darling
  • Lake Macbride
  • Lake Manawa 
  • Lake of Three Fires
  • Ledges
  • Lewis and Clark
  • McIntosh Woods
  • Mines of Spain
  • Palisades-Kepler
  • Pikes Peak
  • Pilot Knob
  • Prairie Rose 
  • Stephens State Forest
  • Stone
  • Volga River
  • Waubonsie 

Iowa State Parks open more facilities across the state

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 3rd, 2020 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, IA – This week, more facilities are open in Iowa state parks according to the Governor’s proclamation. Here is a list of openings for the week of June 1:

  • Lodges and shelter reservations can be made on the DNR’s park reservation system for June 6 and after. Groups are limited to 50 percent capacity of the facility and must follow social distancing protocols. To make a reservation, visit:
  • Playgrounds are open, but user discretion is advised. Playgrounds will not be sanitized.
  • Youth and group camps are open. Groups are limited to 50 percent capacity of the facility and must follow social distancing protocols.
  • Some events are now able to take place with social distancing protocols. Please check for event updates.
  • Campgrounds are now open to visitors of overnight campers.

State park museums and visitor centers have varying plans to re-open, depending on staffing and ability to implement social distancing protocols:

  • Backbone State Park, Dundee – the CCC Museum at Backbone is closed until further notice.
  • Bellevue State Park, Bellevue – The visitor center is closed until further notice.
  • Cedar Rock State Park, Quasqueton – the Wallace Estate home will open June 3, offering tours on a reservation-only basis. Masks are encouraged and groups will be limited to 9 or less. For more details, visit
  • Lewis and Clark State Park, Onawa – The visitor center will open June 8 with limited hours – Tuesdays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon.
  • Loess Hills State Forest, Pisgah – The visitor center will open by June 10. Visit for hours.
  • Maquoketa Caves State Park, Maquoketa – the Sager’s Museum is closed until further notice.
  • Mines of Spain State Recreation Area, Dubuque – The EB Lyons Nature Center is closed until further notice. Look for updates at
  • Wildcat Den State Park, Muscatine – the Grist Mill is closed at least through June as the Friends Group determines its ability to provide staffing. The Melpine School will be closed for the 2020 season. Find updates on the Friends Group Facebook page:

According to DNR park staff, many visitor centers and museums are run by volunteer groups with people in higher-risk health groups, which limits ability to re-open. For more details on park alerts and updates, visit:

Iowa Beef Checkoff Introduces Directory to Connect Beef Producer to Local Buyers

Ag/Outdoor, News

June 2nd, 2020 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) today (Tuesday), announced the launch of a local beef directory to connect beef producers with local buyers. The IBC says “The pandemic has ushered in a renewed interest in food security and ignited an increased interest from consumers to purchase beef directly from farmers. The Iowa Local Beef Directory will provide resources in helping shoppers navigate the buying process and connecting potential buyers to sellers.”

Janine Moore, IBIC Chairman says “We have recently noticed an uptick in the frequency of producer inquiries searching for resources related to directly marketing beef. Furthermore, with supermarkets and grocery stores experiencing intermittent disruptions in availability of beef, we felt we had to do something to address the marketplace needs. We understand this isn’t a solution that addresses all the challenges we face today but it’s a positive step forward in building a connection with beef farmers and shoppers.”

Iowa beef producers interested in submitting their information for listing can do so by visiting the Iowa Local Beef Directory submission page, on the Raising Beef tab, on the IBIC website, The form allows producers to self-list to the directory which will be housed on the IBIC website. Listings will include farm name, contact name, city, additional certifications and website links so consumers can contact farmers directly. Questions received by IBIC regarding specific businesses will be directed back to the company.

Quick planting season one of the few positives for farmers


June 1st, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — The coronavirus pandemic has hit farmers hard this spring — but Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig says the one thing it hasn’t hurt is planting. “The crop side of things has truly been a bright spot for Iowa agriculture this year — especially after the last couple of years after very challenging springs — wet springs, flooding,” Naig says. The U-S-D-A crop report shows less than ten percent of corn and beans remained to be planted heading into last week. Naig says the weather conditions played out perfectly. “This year we had a really nice window open up at the end of April. Mother Nature cooperated just perfectly and we saw a record pace of getting corn and soybeans in the ground,” Naig says. “And it has just been a testament to all that it took to get that to happen in a very short time frame.” Naig says the turnaround has been a welcome boost.

“I had to say last year all throughout the year we were several weeks behind average. This year we can say things like ‘we’re a month ahead of last year and several weeks ahead of the five-year average.’ So, really a bright spot for our farmers,” according to Naig. There have been a few weather issues since the planting got underway — but nothing major. “We’ve seen some abnormally dry conditions across really from southwest Iowa up into north-central Iowa. Now, over the last ten days to two weeks we’ve seen an ample amount of rain that has come through and the crops look good,” Naig says. “We do need some heat –we do need some sun — and that will really allow things to take off.” There were a few days where cold temperatures and frost hit after crops were starting to emerge, and that caused a little damage.

Not widespread damage to the crops, but we do know that there was some damage to the crops and some replant that occurred. But by and large — that occurred when the crop was well-protected,” Naig says. Last week’s crop report showed 97 percent of the corn had been planted and 92 percent of the beans. A new report released later today (Monday) will update the planting progress.