• Mike and Sheilah Reskovac

    Corn ethanol: What was Senator Toomey thinking?

    Two Hearts, One Harvest

     by Mike and Sheilah Reskovac
     on March 23, 2015

    Mike: This column departs from my joint effort with Sheilah for a reason you'll understand. Lately, my inbox and mailbox has been filled with all sorts of correspondence concerning U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s effort to repeal Renewal Fuel Standard incentives for producing corn ethanol. Back in mid-January, Toomey, along with California Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced an amendment to eliminate the RFS corn ethanol mandate. When I heard of it, I quickly put on my corn grower’s…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Targets of Des Moines Water Works lawsuit threat get some help

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 9, 2015

    Three counties in northwest Iowa that the Des Moines Water Works is threatening to sue will get some of the $1.4 million in state soil and water conservation funding announced March 4 by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. The money will be used to help address problems with loss of nutrients from farm fields, such as nitrates entering streams and rivers. The three counties being threatened by the lawsuit are Calhoun, Sac and Buena Vista. The Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Iowa Ag Summit attracting national attention

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 4, 2015

    The first-ever agricultural forum for wannabe U.S. presidential candidates is set for March 7 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. With a strong lineup of speakers, the event will offer Iowa Caucus voters a chance to hear the candidates' views on key farm and agriculture issues. The forum is also a way to prompt presidential candidates to learn more about important ag issues and how government policies affect farmers and the rural economy. A dozen potential presidential candidates…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    First property taxes, now sales tax on equipment

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 24, 2015

    Out there in the alternate universe where eliminating income taxes for lawyers, investment bankers, financial planners and doctors seemed like a great idea, the consequences are beginning to hit home in the real world. With a budget hole approaching $1 billion to fill, the Kansas Legislature is looking for ways to find big bucks and their hungry urban eyes are falling on rural tax breaks. I remember warning of this exact consequence in editorials and television appearances, pointing out that…

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  • Tom Bechman

    10 reasons for not talking to your legislator

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 23, 2015

    Many times you read a story about property taxes or ag education reform or some other ag-related topic, and it closes asking you to contact your legislator to tell them how you feel. You may even see those kinds of articles here. I got to thinking – is that a good use of your time? I came up with 10 reasons NOT to bother talking to my state representative or senator, and why you shouldn't talk to them either. 1. They will do what they want to do anyway. Politics is cut and dried, at…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Can Iowa avoid water quality lawsuit?

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on February 6, 2015

    The potential lawsuit the Des Moines Water Works intends to file against the county boards of supervisors in three counties in northwest Iowa over recently high nitrate levels in the Raccoon River is catching national attention. Des Moines Water Works officials say drainage districts in Calhoun, Sac and Buena Vista counties aren't doing enough to keep nitrates in the fields, as tile lines drain into streams and rivers. The suit, if it is indeed filed in court, would seek to regulate tile…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    NRCS has a wetland mess

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 2, 2015

    When the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service announced that it was going to try and speed up wetland determinations in South Dakota and North Dakota by relying more on soil, aerial maps and other in-office methods rather than field observations and soil samples, I thought “good” and figured farmers would be all for it. Boy was I wrong. Corn and soybean groups have denounced so called off-site determinations and have asked farmers tell NRCS its drop its…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Corporate farming law changes in the works

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 29, 2015

    There are moves afoot in both South Dakota and North Dakota to make changes to the states' corporate farming laws. In South Dakota, several senators have introduced a bill to change the ban on corporate ownership of hog barns. The law currently states, “No corporation, except a family corporation, may own or operate any hog facility. The main change to the law simply says the “restrictions to corporation ownership do not apply to any hog confinement facility.” The text of…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Educating presidential contenders about renewable fuels

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on January 26, 2015

    If potential candidates for U.S. president want to win the state's voters next year in the 2016 Iowa caucuses, they should make it clear right now that they support ethanol production in a big way. That's the message Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and other Iowa leaders are telling the contenders who are visiting the state, exploring their presidential possibilities. "We're not going to pre-judge any of the candidates from either party," the governor said at a January 22 press…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Des Moines Water Works Intends To Sue Over High Nitrates

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on January 16, 2015

    Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he strongly opposes the plan by the Des Moines Water Works to file a federal lawsuit against three rural counties over high nitrate levels in the Raccoon River. He says the matter should be resolved by a collaborative approach. When asked if rural Iowa is going to war with Des Moines over water quality, Branstad said, "I would put it the other way around. Des Moines has declared war on rural Iowa. Instead of filing a lawsuit, Des Moines officials should sit…

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