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 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.

October 18, 2018 - 3:00 pm - Posted in Sports

Spirit Lake, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For more information contact the Spirit Lake fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.

Black Hawk Lake
Water temperatures are around 50 degrees. Bluegill – Fair: Use a small jig with a small piece of crawler fished under a bobber in 3-6 feet of water in Town Bay from the stone piers along the north shoreline of Town Bay along Ice House Point and near the inlet bridge. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Catch largemouth all over the lake using traditional bass lures. There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Black Hawk Lake. Yellow Perch – Fair: Catch perch up to 12 inches with small powerbaits like crappie nibbles, perch eyes and crawlers fished 2-4 feet below a bobber.

Brushy Creek Lake
There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Brushy Creek Lake, and a 40 inch minimum length limit for musky. Walleye – Fair: Troll slowly crawler rigs, minnows or leaches in 10-15 feet of water. Yellow Perch – Fair: Find perch along the vegetation. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Catch bass along weed lines near shore just about anywhere with traditional bass lures. There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Brushy Creek Lake. Bluegill – Fair: Try tube jigs tipped with crawlers in 5-15 feet of water.

Crawford Creek Impoundment
Black Crappie – Fair: A recent survey showed crappie up to 10 inches along shore. Use minnows or crawlers fished below a bobber in the mornings and evenings. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Use traditional bass lures along the shoreline.

North Twin Lake
Water temperatures are around 50 degrees. White Crappie – Slow: A recent survey showed most crappie are 6-10 inches with a few up to 14 inches. Walleye – Slow: Walleye up to 27 inches have been seen in recent netting surveys.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Storm Lake has a daily limit of 3 walleye and all 17- to 22-inch walleye must be released; no more than one walleye longer than 22 inches may be taken per day. Walleye – Fair: Use crawler rigs and troll crankbaits along the edges of the dredge cuts around the lake. Try twisters and leaches fished under a bobber from shore. White Bass – Fair: Use crankbaits and crawlers fished from shore. Black Crappie – Fair: A recent survey showed crappie up to 10 inches can be found near shore; use a crawler or minnow fished on a small jig below a bobber.

Beeds Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Drift fish or troll with a tube jig or small minnow. Yellow Bass – Fair: Drift fish or troll with a small jig. Shore anglers should fish a small piece of crawler or cut bait off the bottom.

Clear Lake
Surface water temperature is 47 degrees. Muskellunge – Fair: Fish the edge of the vegetation and near docks. Walleye – Good: Fish off the jetties after dark.

Crystal Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Drift or troll small tube jigs or a minnow in the dredge cut or on the edge of vegetation. Walleye – Fair: Try a jig and minnow in the area near the old road bed.

Rice Lake
Yellow Perch – Slow: Use a small minnow or a plastic bait in the deeper water.

East Okoboji Lake
Yellow Bass – Good: Excellent bite continues with good numbers of fish being caught. Cast mini-jigs or hair-jigs or use small baits tipped with wigglers. Don’t overlook the evening bite from docks as these fish will move shallow at dusk. Walleye – Good: Numbers of fish are being caught with traditional baits; good numbers of yellow bass are mixed in with the catch. Northern Pike – Good: Anglers report northern pike action on the lake; best area is where there is flow into the lake.

Lake Pahoja
Bluegill – Good: Good numbers of large angler acceptable size fish being caught. Channel Catfish – Good: Report of a good fall bite with large angler acceptable size fish being caught.

Lost Island Lake
Yellow Bass – Good: Reports of yellow bass being caught with black crappie and yellow perch up to 10 inches mixed in the catch. Use small lures such as a twister tail or hair jigs. Bluegill – Good: Recent surveys show numbers of fish approaching 7 inches in the lake. Black Crappie – Good: Reports of fish being caught from the lake. Look for the bite to continue. Anglers are catching yellow perch and crappie from the shore. Walleye – Good: The fall walleye bite has started. Use traditional baits during “prime time”. Yellow Perch – Fair: Some fish are being caught in the evening from shore with walleyes mixed into the catch.

Ocheyedan Pit #1
Channel Catfish – Good: Recent surveys show good numbers of 17 -23 inch channel catfish.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Walleye – Good: The fall walleye bite is on. Troll crankbaits during the day; wader fishing is your best chance to catch trophy size fish.

Spirit Lake
Walleye – Good: The fall walleye bite has started with action improving. Wader angler action has picked up with the best bite during the evening. Yellow Perch – Good: Good numbers of fish are being caught with sorting needed; anglers continue to harvest numbers of angler acceptable size fish. Use mini jigs tipped with wigglers or a minnow. Northern Pike – Good: Angler reports of northern pike action on the lake; best area is where there is flow into the lake.

West Okoboji Lake
Bluegill – Good: Rock piles in deeper water with stands of aquatic growth will produce good numbers of angler acceptable sized fish.

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 18, 2018 - 11:32 am - Posted in Sports

It will be a busy Friday night at the offices of the Iowa High School Athletic Association where officials will set the parings for next week’s start of the high school football playoffs.

Todd Tharp says the first chore will be to determine the 16 qualifiers in the six classes.

The next step is to set the pairings and Tharp hopes they will be released early Saturday morning.

A new RPI system will determine at-large bids. As in past years district champions are in automatically and Tharp says that includes three-way ties if no team owns the tie-breaker.

Head to head will be used to break a tie that involves two teams. Tharp says they will not release a full bracket for each class and instead bracket through the quarterfinals. The remaining teams will be re-seeded before the semifinals.

Tharp says under the new RPI system he does not envision a team finishing 8-1 being left out of the playoffs.

The opening round of the playoffs are next Friday, October 26.

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.