Northwest Iowa — The wet weather and delayed harvest has created problems for area livestock farmers who want to apply manure to fields this fall.

Ken Hessenius of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Field Office in Spencer says the rainfall has also helped fill manure storage areas, and finding a way to draw them down hasn’t been easy.

He says there’s one easy solution they can hope for.

He says there are some other things that can be done to keep full lagoons from overflowing.

He advises livestock producers to take a look at their options and do something before it becomes a crisis.

That can end up doing environmental damage and be costly for producers. Hessenius says there will be issues even if the weather allows crops to be cleared out of fields that are targeted for manure.

Hessenius says the DNR can help farmers figure out a solution for their individual operation.

Hessenius says the dry days will hopefully stretch out awhile and help ease some of the problems.

October 19, 2018 - 12:49 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Two agricultural operations in our area have had to pay penalties to the DNR recently for violations of environmental laws and rules.

In Lyon County, a feedlot was fined for violations of record-keeping in regard to what is known as a “Nutrient Management Plan.” A Nutrient Management Plan is something that livestock producers need to file, which is to document practices and strategies adopted by livestock operations to address natural resource concerns related to soil erosion, livestock manure, and disposal of organic by-products. In this case, Scott Kock and the Scott and Pam Kock Revocable Trust were accused of not filing timely reports when the facility had expanded from 800 to 1200 head and not updating their manure management plan when they stopped using two fields and started applying manure to another field instead.

The Kocks were ordered to maintain and update Nutrient Management Plans, maintain records, and pay a $3,000 penalty.

In Osceola County, Sunrise Farms Rentals, LLC is accused of building two confinements holding 264,000 pullets each, one in 1995 and the other in 1998, and never filing a manure management plan until 2018. The confinements were located by a DNR official going through aerial photographs and matching them to facilities that were known to have submitted manure management plans. The DNR says Sunrise Farms will have to pay a $10,000 penalty and $3,168 in compliance fees for failing to submit Manure Management Plans.

October 19, 2018 - 12:42 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making more than $4.8 billion in payments, starting this month, to agricultural producers through the Farm Service Agency’s Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Conservation Reserve (CRP) programs.

The USDA says that approximately $3 billion in payments will be made under the ARC and PLC programs for the 2017 crop year, and approximately $1.8 billion in annual rental payments under CRP for 2018.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says, “Despite a temporary lapse of Farm Bill authorities, farmers and ranchers can rest assured that USDA continues to work within the letter of the law to deliver much-needed farm safety net, conservation, disaster recovery, and trade assistance program payments.”

The ARC and PLC programs were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and make up a portion of the agricultural safety net to producers when they experience a substantial drop in revenue or prices for their covered commodities.

PLC payments have triggered for 2017 barley, canola, corn, grain sorghum, wheat, and other crops. The USDA tells us that producers with bases enrolled in ARC for 2017 crops can visit www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc for updated crop yields, prices, revenue, and payment rates.

Also, the USDA has begun issuing 2018 CRP payments to over 362,000 landowners to support voluntary conservation efforts on private lands.

Purdue says that CRP has long been a useful tool for the Department to encourage farmers to take that environmentally-sensitive, more unproductive land, out of production and build-up their natural resource base. He says that these CRP payments are meant to help encourage land stewardship and help support an operation’s bottom line.

October 18, 2018 - 3:53 pm - Posted in News

West Des Moines, Iowa — Hy-Vee, Inc. has announced a voluntarily recal six of its meat and potato products across its eight-state region, due to possible contamination with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

According to Hy-Vee, the potential for contamination was discovered after Hy-Vee’s supplier, McCain Foods, announced it was recalling its caramelized mushrooms and fire-roasted tomatoes, which are ingredients that are used in six Hy-Vee products. To date, no illnesses have been reported in connection with these products, according to Hy-Vee.

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria monocytogenes infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Hy-Vee says that, out of an abundance of caution, they are recalling the following products from all of their stores:
Hy-Vee Bacon Wrapped Cowgirl Chicken Grillers – 8 ounce each, UPC Code 023092600000
Hy-Vee Fire Roasted Tomato, Spinach, Mozzarella Twice Baked Potato – 5 ounce each, UPC Code 023755400000
Hy-Vee Cowgirl Chicken Griller Patty – 6 ounce each, UPC Code 023100200000
Hy-Vee Gourmet Steakhouse Mushroom & Swiss Burger – 6 ounce each, UPC Code 023168400000
Hy-Vee Ground Beef Sliders Mushroom & Swiss – 2 ounce each, UPC Code 023164300000
Hy-Vee Ground Beef Sliders Mushroom & Swiss – 12 count, 30 ounces, UPC Code 023266600000

Hy-Vee says all impacted products have a “Best If Used By” date of Oct. 22, 2018, or sooner.

The grocery giant is cautioning customers who purchased any of these products with the above dates against eating them. They’re being asked to discard the items, or return them to their local Hy-Vee for a full refund.

Hy-Vee says customers with questions can contact their Customer Care Representatives 24-hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-772-4098.

Akron, Iowa — A gun rights advocate who says on her website that she is “Black, armed, and conservative” is coming to northwest Iowa to appear with Congressman Steve King at an annual hunting event next weekend.

Congressman Steve King’s campaign officials say that they will be hosting the annual “General Bud Day Pheasant Hunt” at the Hole N’ the Wall Lodge near Akron on the weekend of October 26-28. They also say that Congressman King has invited Antonia Okafor to attend. They tell us that she is a campus carry activist, Miss District of Columbia International 2019, an NRA-ILA Forum Featured Speaker and Outreach Committee Member, a second amendment champion, and a women’s self-defense advocate. Okafor is the founder and CEO of EMPOWERED, a nonprofit national student organization that educates, trains, and equips young women on campus to safely use guns for self-defense and advocates for the right to use them.

King says that he is very pleased that Okafor has accepted his invitation to be a special guest. He says, “I am certain that those attending will find her message and her work as compelling as I do.”

Okafor has posted, “[I am] honored to be part of this historic annual hunt with Iowa U.S. Representative Steve King. Excited to embark on my first ever hunt!”

General Day, a Sioux City native, was the nation’s most decorated war hero at the time of his death in 2013. A Medal of Honor recipient, he also received some 70 military decorations, including the Air Force Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross and multiple awards of the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart and the Air Medal. He served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, where he was a POW for over five years.

Northwest Iowa — A mild winter could be in store for our area, and much of the rest of the United States this winter according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. In the U.S. Winter Outlook for December through February, above-average temperatures are most likely across the northern and western U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.

Additionally, El Nino has a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing, according to Mike Halpert, Deputy Director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. He says forecasters expect El Nino to be in place in late fall to early winter. He says although a weak El Nino is expected, it may still influence the winter season by bringing wetter conditions across the southern United States, and warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North.

El Nino is an ocean-atmosphere climate interaction that is linked to periodic warming in sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. During the winter, typical El Nino conditions in the U.S. can include wetter-than-average precipitation in the South and drier conditions in parts of the North.

Other climate patterns that can affect winter weather are challenging to predict on a seasonal time scale, according to Halpert. The Arctic Oscillation influences the number of arctic air masses that penetrate into the South and could result in below-average temperatures in the eastern part of the U.S. The Madden-Julian Oscillation can contribute to heavy precipitation events along the West Coast – which could play a large role in shaping the upcoming winter, especially if El Nino is weak, as forecasters predict.

Warmer-than-normal conditions are anticipated across much of the northern and western U.S., with the greatest likelihood in Alaska and from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern Plains.

The Southeast, Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic all have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures. No part of the U.S. is favored to have below-average temperatures.

NOAA’s seasonal outlooks give the likelihood that temperatures and precipitation will be above-, near- or below-average, and how drought conditions are expected to change, but the outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance. Even during a warmer-than-average winter, periods of cold temperatures and snowfall are still likely to occur.

Below is a video produced by NOAA summarizing their 2018-19 Winter Outlook…………

October 17, 2018 - 2:40 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — It’s political debate season in Iowa. Half a dozen debates among candidates for governor and congress have been held already. The final two debates between Republican Governor Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell will be held this week. There will be no debate, however, featuring candidates in Iowa’s fourth congressional district.

Incumbent Republican Congressman Steve King says a debate is unnecessary.

King is seeking a ninth term in the U.S. House. He last debated a General Election opponent in 2012 when he faced former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack. J.D. Scholten, a Democrat from Sioux City, is challenging King this year. Scholten says debates are about holding candidates accountable.

Scholten is holding town hall meetings in each of the 39 counties in the district.

Scholten says you can’t fake showing up and King has stopped holding town hall meetings in the district.

King says he speaks with thousands of people in “tele-town hall” meetings and meets face-to-face with constituents, but stopped doing public town hall meetings in the district because they’ve turned into a forum for protesters.

Scholten launched his campaign 15 months ago and has out-raised King in each quarter. Over the last three months, Scholten raised $661-thousand. That’s four times as much as King raised during the same period for his reelection campaign.

October 16, 2018 - 3:22 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Big flocks of honking geese and other migratory waterfowl are headed south for the winter, and many of them come right through our area. Unfortunately they could carry avian influenza.

An avian influenza outbreak in the spring of 2015 decimated several flocks of chickens and turkeys in Iowa and Minnesota. Dr. David Schmitt, the state veterinarian for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says when migratory birds are on the migration trail, area chickens and turkeys are always at some risk for avian influenza.


He says the same risk happens again in the spring, and we’ve found that biosecurity is actually very important year-round.


According to Dr. Schmitt, the avian flu viruses mix and change just like the human flu viruses. He says that’s why every year there is a new flu shot for people, because the doctors try to get the viruses for which they believe there is the greatest risk that year. But he says the H5 and H7 variants are always of concern for birds.

Dr. Schmitt says that one thing we’ve got going for us is that most people involved in the poultry industry now know the importance of taking biosecurity measures such as clean shoes and other objects; proper disposal of dead birds; clean water; eliminating access to surface drainage water; eliminating rodents, insects, wild animals, and wild birds; and controlling access to feed and making sure it and the containers it comes in stay clean.


Click here for more information on biosecurity for poultry from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

October 16, 2018 - 2:38 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The Iowa Department of Public Health is recommending you get a flu shot as soon as possible to be sure you are protected.

Department Medical Director Caitlin Pedati says there’s a lot of input in the strain of flu picked for the flu shot.

There have been years when the strains picked for the vaccine are not as effective as others, and Doctor Pedati says it is still best to get the shot.

Pedati says they try to keep up on the flu activity as the season gets into full swing.

Doctor Pedati says it’s too early to try and predict how bad this flu season may be.

The flu season usually starts to hit full steam at the end of October or in early November. The I-D-P-H says there were 272 flu-related deaths in Iowa during last year’s flu season.

October 16, 2018 - 1:03 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — According to the latest Iowa Crop Progress and Condition Report issued by the USDA, since they started keeping records, Iowa farmers have never been this behind on harvesting soybeans. A big part of that is all the excess moisture we’ve received.

Ben Torrance, Agricultural Statistician for the USDA-National Agriculture Statistics Service, Upper Midwest Region Field Office, gives us the stats.


He says the other soybean stats, such as maturity and condition remain pretty good.


Excess moisture has made it tough for farmers to get anything done in the fields, according to Torrance. The average was less than one day available for fieldwork in the last week.


He says the corn harvest wasn’t doing too much better, with less than 20 percent harvested, but that’s closer to normal.


He says outdoor livestock producers haven’t had it much easier.


The weather part of the crop report says that northwest Iowa has been cooler and much wetter than normal. In fact, the coldest temperature recorded last week was in O’Brien County, with both Sheldon and Sanborn reporting a low of 24 degrees on Sunday, which is 12 degrees below normal. On the week, it says northwest Iowa was 6 to 10 degrees below normal. Parts of western Iowa were near normal to warmer than average.

Click here for the full report.