Weekly USDA Crop Progress Report Released

young soybean plants in fieldNorthwest Iowa — The weekly USDA Crop Progress Report for last week was issued yesterday (April 18th).

According to the report, Iowa farmers had ample opportunities for fieldwork with 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending April 17th, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. In addition to oat planting, corn planting began in earnest in most areas with scattered reports of soybean planting. Other field activities included tillage as well as anhydrous and fertilizer applications.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 10 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 3 percent short, 91 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus.

Thirteen percent of the State’s expected corn acreage has been planted, over one week ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. Seventy-eight percent of the oat crop has been planted, almost two weeks ahead of average, with 15 percent emerged. Iowa farmers were able to plant almost half the State’s expected oat acreage during the week ending April 17, 2016.

Pasture condition rated 2 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 48 percent good and 6 percent excellent. Pastures have started to green. Livestock conditions were described as good, with the dry weather beneficial for calving. Some cows and calves have been turned out to pastures.

For a look at the complete report, click here.

Strengthening Families Program Celebrates 2016 Finale

ISU ExtensionGeorge, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Lyon County celebrated the finale of its spring 2016 Strengthening Families Program April 14th, in George. 

Hosted by ISU Extension and Outreach Lyon County, the Strengthening Families Program is a free program that focuses on strengthening family dynamics, specifically for families with 10 to 14 year olds. It opens up the lines of communication between parents and child, and offers practical information using videos, discussions, learning games, and family projects.

The Strengthening Families Program is a seven-week program for the entire family, according to Laura Beyenhof, Lyon County K-12 Program Assistant. She says the program began in February and on April 14th they celebrated their final night with a family-focused celebration. 

During the finale, families reviewed topics that had been covered in the last six weeks. Some of the topics reviewed by the youth included goal-setting, handling peer pressure, modeling respect, understanding stress, and preparing for high school. Parents reviewed how to set reasonable limits, follow through with consequences, communicate with their child, and were given resources to help their families live a healthy, happy lifestyle. 

This is the third year that ISU Extension and Outreach has offered the Strengthening Families Program in the area. As an incentive and thank you for participating in the Strengthening Families Program, families were given a certificate of completion, family gift, and youth passes for 2016-2017 George-Little Rock athletic events.

The Strengthening Families Program in Lyon County was made possible through the support of the Lyon County Extension Council, Lyon County Riverboat Foundation, and the George-Little Rock School District.



NCC Hosts Northwest Iowa Fine Arts Show

NCC logo and taglineSheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College is hosting the Northwest Iowa Fine Arts Show, going on now through April 28th.  This event is open to the public during regular campus hours in Building A, rooms 116 – 119.  The exhibit will conclude with a Fine Arts Invitational and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 28, from 9:00 am–2:00 pm.

Each student can submit two works of art up to a total of thirty pieces per school. All submitted artwork was original and executed by individual artists. There are five categories for submissions: Drawing, Painting, Digital Media & Photography, Ceramics, and Sculpture & Mixed Media.

On Thursday, April 28, all students participating in the show are invited to the Fine Arts Invitational and Award Ceremony. First, second, and third place awards will be given in each category, with honorable mentions awarded at the judge’s discretion. Two overall awards will also be given: A Best of Show award, chosen by art teachers, and a Students’ Choice award, as voted on by participating art students.

A schedule for the Fine Arts Invitational and Award Ceremony is as follows:

Workshop sessions by local Iowa artist Danielle Clouse Gast at: 9:45 am and 10:30 am,

11:45 am Noah Hoehn performing

Viewing of the exhibit

1:00-1:30 pm: Awards Ceremony
The thirteen northwest Iowa high schools participating are: Boyden-Hull, Central Lyon, George-Little Rock, MOC-Floyd Valley, Okoboji, Rock Valley, Sheldon, Sibley-Ocheyedan, Sioux Center, Trinity Christian, West Lyon, West Sioux, Western Christian. This event will be hosted alongside Northwest Iowa Community College’s Student Fine Arts Show. 

O’Brien County Law Enforcement Seeks Public’s Help In Burglary Cases

crime scene tape over lightbarSanborn, Iowa — O’Brien County law enforcement officials are asking for the public’s help in solving two burglaries that occurred in separate parts of the county.

In the first case, the Sanborn Police Department is asking for the public’s help in solving a burglary that took placeat VanderWerff & Associates, which is located on Main Street in Sanborn.  According to authorities, the business was burglarized sometime between 8:00 pm March 28, into the early morning hours of Tuesday March 29.  They say the suspect or suspects forced their way into the building and cash was taken.

In case number two, The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a burglary at Shortee’s Pit Stop, a convenience store and restaurant located along Highway #59 in Primghar, that took place some time between 10:40 PM Thursday April 7, and 3:45 AM on Friday April 8.  In that case, the suspect or suspects forced their way into the building and cash was taken.

Authorities say that numerous other burglaries of this type have occurred across northwest Iowa over the course of the past several months.

O’Brien County authorities are encouraging anyone who witnessed suspicious vehicles or people in the area of either of these burglaries to contact the police. The O’Brien County Crime Dusters program is offering a $500 reward to anyone who provides information on either of these crimes that leads to the arrest and conviction of the offenders.

You may provide information on this crime or any other crimes by calling the O’Brien County Communications Center at 712-957-3415.  You will be put in contact with a law enforcement officer from the appropriate agency, who will take your information. You can also provide information or tips on crimes by using the “Hot Tip” link or “e-mail” button on the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office website at www.obriencountysheriff.com. Arrangements can be made to assist you if you want to remain anonymous but still be eligible for the reward.

Sibley To Seek Relief In District Court

Iowa Drying and Processing IDPSibley, Iowa — The Sibley City Council met in closed session Monday afternoon at 5 pm to plan their next move in their effort to force Iowa Drying and Processing to abate the offensive odor that emanates from their Sibley plant.

Nuisance citations were issued to IDP earlier, and on Monday, March 21st a trial on those charges was held, however when Iowa Drying and Processing and their legal counsel failed to appear at that trial, the magistrate listened to the city’s argument, which alleged ten counts of the city’s offensive smells ordinance, and found in favor of the city, ordering IDP to pay nearly $9000 in fines for the smell emanating from their plant..

On March 28th of this year the City Council held a public hearing on the matter, at which time representatives of IDP, as well as the Sibley community, appeared to plead their cases.  On March 31st the Council met in closed session to review the evidence presented at the public hearing, and render a judgement.  Following that meeting, the Council said they found from the evidence presented at th hearing that the emissions from the IDP property constitute a nuisance under the Sibley City Code, and the Iowa Code, and that those emissions are injurious to health, indecent, or unreasonably offensive to the senses.

The Council’s decision said that they found from the evidence that IDP knew it’s facilities create an unreasonably offensive odor, and that it is a nuisance under the Sibley Code and Iowa law.

As a result, the City of Sibley ordered IDP, and their parent company, ChemSol to deposit $50,000 into an escrow account held by the City of Sibley, which will be used to hire and pay an engineer of the City’s choosing, to study IDP’s operations and make recommendations, and be reasonably used to abate any future nuisances.  IDP and ChemSol will be required to deposit the required funds on or before April, 11, 2016.

The April 11th deadline has now come and gone, with no action by IDP.  As a result, at Monday’s City Council meeting, the Council authorized City Attorney Harold Dawson to file a petition in District Court seeking an injunction to force IDP to abide by the earlier court order.  Dawson told KIWA he expects the petition to be filed as early as Tuesday (April 19th).

Northey: No-Till Resources Available

Des Moines, Iowa — Farmers in Iowa continue to expand usage of no-till or strip-till to limit runoff, improve water quality and reduce production costs. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has shared a list of recommendations and resources that are valuable for experienced no-/strip-tillers and those new to the practice.
He says the state continues to see significant growth in no-till and strip-till adoption. New technologies and tools continue to provide additional options for farmers using or considering reduced or no tillage systems. He says there are a wide variety of resources available to help farmers successfully transition their tillage system to help protect water quality and maintain crop production.

Farmers in Iowa have made tremendous progress in managing residue to reduce soil erosion. Surveys by the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) show an increase in acres under no-till from about 800,000 acres in 1987 to over 7 million acres in 2012. Conservation tillage is used on an additional 8.76 million acres. These changes are a result of many of factors including advances in seed and herbicide technology and planter advancements designed to manage high residue environments.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, in conjunction with Iowa Learning Farms and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, have put together information to help farmers. The fact-sheet has information on planter settings, fertilizer considerations, weed control and other considerations to help farmers successfully use no-till and strip-till in their operation. The information can be found at www.cleanwateriowa.org/nostrip-till.

Many of the resources below are beneficial regardless of tillage system, but can be even more critical in high residue operations.

Iowa Learning Farms also has a YouTube video on planter settings for no-till operations at www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KAf-wf6WZ8#t=26. Additional videos on other aspects of planter settings are available through their YouTube channel, which can be found at www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQIxjljgWdg59nSrual_4A.

Finally, work with the manufacturer of your planter or strip-till bar as they would also have addition information that would help with proper calibration and settings for efficient use of your specific planter and planter attachments.

“With tight margins and variable spring weather impacting usual field work, no-till or strip-till may be an option for farmers interested in reducing costs and at the same time reducing surface runoff, erosion, and improving soil health. Adding cover crops in the fall adds an additional layer of protection from what Mother Nature dishes out, particularly reducing nitrogen losses,” Northey said.

No-till, as the name suggest is when no tillage is done to the soil following harvest. Strip-till is when a narrow, residue-free strip of soil about six inches wide is tilled to prepare the seedbed for planting. The soil surface between tilled strips is undisturbed as in no-till.

Background on Iowa Water Quality Initiative

The Iowa Water Quality Initiative was established in 2013 to help implement the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which is a science and technology based approach to achieving a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to our waters. The strategy brings together both point sources, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, including farm fields and urban stormwater runoff, to address these issues.

The initiative seeks to harness the collective ability of both private and public resources and organizations to deliver a clear and consistent message to stakeholders to reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality.

As part of the initiative, last fall 1,800 farmers committed $3.5 million in cost share funds to install nutrient reduction practices in each of Iowa’s 99 counties. The practices that were eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Participants include 980 farmers using a practice for the first time and more than 830 past users that are trying cover crops again and are receiving a reduced-rate of cost share. Farmers using cost share funding contribute 50% or more to the total cost of the practice.

There are also currently 45 existing demonstration projects located across the state to help implement and demonstrate water quality practices through the initiative. This includes 16 targeted watershed projects, 7 projects focused on expanding the use and innovative delivery of water quality practices and 22 urban water quality demonstration projects. More than 100 organizations are participating in these projects. These partners will provide $19.31 million dollars to go with over $12 million in state funding going to these projects.

More than $325 million in state and federal funds have been directed to programs with water quality benefits in Iowa last year. This total does not include the cost share amount that farmers pay to match state and federal programs and funds spent to build practices built without government assistance.