Environment & Weather
CONSERVATION COUNTS ON EARTH DAY AND EVERY DAY FOR IOWA FARMERS PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Laurie Johns   
Monday, 22 April 2013 15:14

Virtual Tours Show Progress of Iowa Farmers

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – April 19, 2013 – Iowans can see how today’s farmers are always seeking new ways to protect the land and water, while providing a wide array of food choices for consumers, by taking virtual farm tours.  Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is launching ‘Conservation Counts’ (www.iowafarmbureau.com/conservationcounts), an online resource where consumers can see how farmers use conservation practices on their farm and the progress that statewide voluntary measures have brought in the last 30 years.  The Conservation Counts website goes live April 22nd, the 43rd observance of national Earth Day.

“Conservation methods are different on every farm because the terrain is different, the soils are different and the crops we grow are diverse.  So when it comes to conservation, forcing a one-size-fits-all approach would be a detriment to the progress we need to make in protecting the land and water,” said IFBF President Craig Hill.

“Today’s responsible farmers are always looking for new ways to help them not only maintain but improve the integrity of their land and watersheds.  Some farmers plant trees (http://www.supportfarmers.com/Programs/gfpp/case-studies ) through the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmer’s Green Farmstead Partner Program; many more farmers plant grassy buffer strips to protect streams; some use no-till methods or cover crops, or terraces to hold nutrients and reduce erosion.  On my farm, I use precision agriculture where I spoon feed plants nutrients/fertilizer at the right time, right place and right amount so they get only what they need which is better for the plant and the environment. And, there are also innovations in seeds and equipment which help today’s farmers use less fertilizer,” said Hill.  “Progress and new ideas are what it takes to meet our nation’s food needs, while protecting the land.  One in six jobs in this state are tied to agriculture.  By 2050, it’s estimated the global population will be over 9 billion, which requires 100 percent more food than we’re growing today.  The Nutrient Reduction Strategy (http://www.nut\rientstrategy.iastate.edu/ ) shows farmers all the options they can use on their farms to get us there.”

Voluntary conservation measures have brought progress.  In the last 30 years, soil erosion in the U.S. has been reduced by 43 percent, according to the USDA’s National Resources Inventory report.  Iowa’s erosion rate was down 33 percent, thanks to a combination of practices being put in place, such as buffer strips, terraces, no-till, cover crops, restoring wetlands, installing bio-filters and grassy waterways in fields.  Today’s responsible farmers continue to search for new ways to protect the land and watershed; seven major conservation practices used on Iowa farms are estimated to remove as much as 28 percent of the nitrate, 38 percent of the total nitrogen, and up to 58 percent of the phosphorus that otherwise would be present, according to the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development’s Conservation Practices in Iowa: Historical Investments, Water Quality and Gaps.

“Farming is never a one-year proposition. It’s something we do over time and we are continually learning.  It’s never static; you always want to be getting as much information as you can, and then putting it to work on your farm,” said Ankeny farmer, Mark Kenney, who uses no-till, has restored grasslands on his farm and this year is taking more land out of production to plant new grassy buffer strips to reduce erosion on his Nevada-area farmland.

Learn more about how today’s responsible farmers embrace new conservation methods by checking out ‘Conservation Counts’ at www.iowafarmbureau.com/conservationcounts or follow them on Facebook at IowaFarmBureau or Twitter at (#ConservationCounts13).

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About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to helping farm families prosper and improve their quality of life.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve economic growth, educational improvement, and environmental quality in their communities.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at www.iowafarmbureau.com.

 
Governor Quinn Declares 38 Counties State Disaster Areas PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Monday, 22 April 2013 15:08

Disaster Declaration Issued to Ensure Continued Support for Affected Areas

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today declared 38 counties state disaster areas after surveying flood damage caused by several days of severe storms and heavy rainfall across much of Illinois. The disaster declaration will accelerate and expand access to state emergency resources as well as allow the state to formally pursue federal relief and support. Flash flooding and rapidly rising rivers and streams have forced evacuations, damaged or destroyed homes and businesses, caused power outages and closed numerous roads.

“Illinois has seen an incredible level of devastation and reports indicate that conditions will get worse in the coming days,” Governor Quinn said. “We want to ensure that every county gets the assistance they need and this declaration will give every affected community access to available resources. As we wait for the floods to pass, all Illinois residents should continue to take precautions, and stay off the roads if possible."

Counties included in the Governor’s declaration include: Adams, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Fulton, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McHenry, Mercer, Morgan, Peoria, Pike, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Scott, Tazewell, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago and Woodford.

The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from flooding. The state of Illinois has personnel and assets that can be mobilized to help local government officials with disaster recovery, including trucks, heavy equipment and work crews to speed debris removal, and provide assistance with security and other public safety issues. The state disaster declaration comes after assessments by emergency officials and the governor, and will begin the process of securing federal relief.

On Thursday morning, Governor Quinn was briefed on the state’s flood assistance efforts at the State Incident Response Center (SIRC) in Springfield. He later surveyed damage on the ground and met with local officials in Elmhurst, Des Plaines, River Forest and Westchester.

The SIRC was activated Thursday morning and will remain operational as long as necessary. Liaisons from several state agencies are working with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to coordinate the deployment of state personnel and assets to assist local governments in the affected areas. As of late Thursday, assistance provided in response to requests from local government included water pumps and Illinois Department of Corrections inmates filling sandbags.

For flood safety information and real-time updates, please visit Ready.Illinois.gov. For traffic updates please visit GettingAroundIllinois.com/gai.htm.

The state’s response to the floods includes:

·         Illinois Department of Transportation is ensuring public safety through road closures, message boards and other road-closure assistance to affected communities.

·         Illinois National Guard is coordinating with IEMA in the event troops are needed to assist flooded communities.

·         Illinois Department of Central Management Services is monitoring conditions at state facilities to ensure state agencies can continue to provide critical services to the public and is prepared to procure flood-fighting supplies if needed.

·         Illinois Department of Corrections had 30 inmates at the Pittsfield Work Camp in Pike County assist with filling sandbags for local public safety officials.

·         Illinois Department of Public Health is providing local public health departments, hospitals and medical offices in the affected areas with information on tetanus shots.

·         Illinois State Police is assisting motorists stranded by floodwaters and working with local public safety officials on road closures.

·         Illinois Emergency Management Agency is coordinating the state’s response and has deployed staff throughout the affected areas to assist local officials.

·         Illinois Department of Natural Resources dispatched conservation officers to Sycamore to assist with evacuation of residents in a flooded mobile home park.

·         Office of the State Fire Marshal is coordinating with fire departments throughout the state to assess any flood-related issues they’re experiencing.

·         American Red Cross has opened shelters in Roanoke, Oglesby and Lisle and is continuing to assess the need for shelters and other assistance.

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Governor Quinn Declares State of Emergency In Wake of Flash and River Flooding PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Friday, 19 April 2013 14:05

State Readies Personnel, Resources to Assist Local Governments

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today declared a state of emergency as state agencies prepared to provide assistance to local governments throughout the northern half of Illinois dealing with severe river and flash flooding. The state of emergency ensures that state resources are activated and that the federal government is aware that a disaster declaration is likely. It also allows the state to request resources as needed, such as personnel and equipment. State and local emergency personnel have been on the ground in hardest hit areas since early this morning.

"Heavy rainfall over the past few days has created dangerous flooding in areas across the state," Governor Quinn said. "Everyone should stay home and off the roads if possible. To ensure safety as these storms continue, people should be alert and avoid flooded areas."

For flood safety information and real-time updates please visit Ready.Illinois.gov, and for traffic updates please visit GettingAroundIllinois.com/gai.htm.

The State Incident Response Center (SIRC) is active and is coordinating the state’s response to the floods:

·       Illinois Department of Central Management Services is monitoring conditions at state facilities to ensure state agencies can continue to provide critical services to the public and is prepared to procure flood-fighting supplies if needed.

·       Illinois Department of Transportation is ensuring public safety through road closures, message boards and other road-closure assistance to affected communities.

·       Illinois Department of Corrections will have 30 inmates at the Pittsfield Work Camp in Pike County assist with filling sandbags for local public safety officials.

·       Illinois Department of Public Health is providing local public health departments, hospitals and medical offices in the affected areas with information on tetanus shots.

·       Illinois State Police is assisting motorists stranded by floodwaters and working with local public safety officials on road closures.

·       Illinois National Guard is coordinating with IEMA in the event troops are needed to assist flooded communities.

·       Illinois Emergency Management Agency is coordinating the state’s response and has deployed staff throughout the affected areas to assist local officials.

·       Illinois Department of Natural Resources dispatched conservation officers to Sycamore to assist with evacuation of residents in a flooded mobile home park.

·       Office of the State Fire Marshal is coordinating with fire departments throughout the state to assess any flood-related issues they’re experiencing.

·       American Red Cross has opened shelters in Roanoke, Oglesby and Lisle and is continuing to assess the need for shelters and other assistance.

More information about the state’s flood response and flood safety is available on the Ready Illinois website at Ready.Illinois.gov.

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Governor Quinn Activates Flood Emergency Response PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Friday, 19 April 2013 13:52
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn this morning activated the State Incident Response Center (SIRC) in Springfield to assess flooding and severe weather in several areas of the state and expedite assistance that may be needed by local public safety officials to protect citizens. The SIRC will remain open as long as needed to support local responders.

"I urge everyone to stay alert and avoid flooded areas," Governor Quinn said. "Residents should tune in to local TV and radio stations for updated information about any closed routes or evacuations."

This governor is currently being briefed by emergency officials at the SIRC before departing to assess storm damage and response across the state. An updated public schedule will be sent shortly.

For more information on flood safety and real-time updates on today's storms, please visit Ready.Illinois.gov.

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State Farm® Names Top Ten States With Most Hail Losses PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Missy Dundov   
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 10:19
IBHS Indoor Hail Storm Simulates Real Damage
April 17, 2013—State Farm announces the top ten states with the most wind, hail losses. Wind and hail storms remain some of the most frequent and severe causes of property damage. This year the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety Research Center conducted the first-ever indoor hailstorm, in an effort to research building products and ways to education consumers.
Damage caused by wind and hail cost State Farm and its policyholders more than $3.9 billion in 2012. The states with the most wind/hail losses include:
  • Texas—47,000 claims
  • Illinois—41,000 claims
  • New York—34,000 claims
  • Ohio—31,000 claims
  • Missouri—25,000 claims
  • Tennessee—24,000 claims
  • Indiana—23,000 claims
  • New Jersey—23,000 claims
  • Kentucky—22,000 claims
  • Colorado—16,000 claims
While hail storms most frequently impact the Great Plains and Midwest, every state in the nation is susceptible. See how your state compares to others when it comes to wind/hail and most common insurance claims.
Heading Off Hail Damage:
  • If weather conditions are prime for hail storms, pull cars, boats, RVs, lawn and patio furniture into a covered area.
  • When building or remodeling, consider impact resistant roofing to reduce hail damage to your home. State Farm currently offers insurance premium discounts to homes with qualifying impact-resistant roofing products in 26 states and one Canadian province.
If You Experience Hail Damage:
  • Work with your insurance agent or claims adjustor to fully understand the claims process and how covered repairs will be handled. State Farm customers who have reported a loss can expect to be contacted by a claim representative who will review your policy and explain your coverage, outline the claim process, and answer questions.
  • Choose a reputable roofing contractor. Look for a licensed or bonded roofer and request references. Not all jurisdictions require licensing of roofing contractors. Ask to see certificates of insurance to be sure both liability and workers compensation insurance coverage is carried, and are in force during the time the roofing work is being done.
  • You may also contact your local Better Business Bureau or the National Roofing Contractors Association for assistance in locating a professional contractor in a specific geographic area.
  • If anyone visits your home without an appointment and professes to represent your insurer, ask for identification and contact your insurer to confirm before allowing access.

 
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