• Rod Swoboda

    High Voltage Controversy Over Big Power Line

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on December 4, 2013

    A company based in Houston, Texas, is planning to build an overhead high-voltage transmission line from northwest Iowa to Illinois and other states east of the Mississippi River. The power line would deliver electricity from wind turbines in northwest Iowa to cities in Illinois and Eastern states. Clean Line Energy is the company wanting to build this transmission line, and the project is called the Rock Island Clean Line or RICL project. If built, the line would cross 16 Iowa counties, would…

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    Terminating Cover Crops, It's Just A Matter Of Time

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on April 5, 2013

    Many Iowa farmers planted cover crops in the fall of 2012 as a way to create more livestock feeding and forage options for this past winter. However, this spring they will need to terminate those cover crops by May 10 in order to remain eligible for crop insurance. That caution or reminder comes from the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. Some cattle producers also say they'd like to see that deadline extended to allow them to graze or hay the cover crop a little longer in the…

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    Are Your Tile Lines Running Yet?

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 18, 2013

    Rain and snow during late February and first half of March in Iowa pretty much ran off rather than soaked into the ground because frost was still in the top foot or so of soil. That's what farmers attending the 2013 Iowa Master Farmer Awards day on March 14 in Des Moines reported. They came from all over the state; about 200 people attended. Northwest Iowa remains the driest part of the state, while thanks to snow and some rain, southeast Iowa is recharging its supply of subsoil moisture…

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    Big Push To Raise Iowa's Fuel Tax

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 5, 2013

    Like it or not, it's time to raise Iowa's fuel tax, say backers of a proposal being discussed in the Iowa Legislature. Increased revenue is needed to pay for repairs to the state's deteriorating roads and bridges, and a tax on gasoline and diesel fuel is a user fee, say supporters of such a move. They also point out that the state's fuel tax hasn't been raised since 1989. For months lobbyists for road builders and contractors, along with other organizations advocating…

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    World Food Prize, USDA Partnering To Expand Youth Program

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on February 25, 2013

    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, signed an agreement February 19 in Des Moines to expand the Wallace-Carver Internship Program for students interested in cutting-edge agriculture, science and research. The ceremony took place at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in downtown Des Moines with a crowd of 200 youth and business leaders attending. The partnership, as represented in the formal Memorandum…

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    Harkin's Decision To Retire Will Shake Up Other Races

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on January 30, 2013

    Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin's surprise announcement last week that he won't be running for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat in 2014 has set off wide-ranging speculation as to who will be the candidates in that election. A number of names on both the Democrat side and Republican side are being mentioned. Harkin, a Democrat, has served five terms in the senate. He has decided to retire in two years and will not run for a sixth term in 2014. Harkin is 73 years old and by the end of his…

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    Property Tax Is Key Issue For Iowa Legislature

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on January 17, 2013

    The Iowa Legislature began its 2013 session January 14. Budget issues and property taxes are top items on the agenda as legislators get the 85th Iowa General Assembly underway. Farmers and ag organization leaders will be watching carefully to make sure they don't get the short end of the stick as a result of commercial property tax reform. Gov. Branstad and many state lawmakers agree that commercial property taxes are too high in Iowa and they want to lower them. But there is…

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    Corps Begins Mississippi River Rock Removal

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on January 1, 2013

    As the calendar flips to 2013, the drought of 2012 continues to linger in Iowa and a wide area of the Midwest. Lack of rain is affecting water levels on the Mississippi River, which are expected to keep dropping over the next several weeks unless we get much needed rain or an awful lot of melting snow. Barge shipping of grain down the river to New Orleans and movement of fertilizer up the river to Iowa, Illinois and points north are being hindered by the shallow water levels on the…

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    Iowa Nutrient Plan's Voluntary Approach Draws Criticism

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on December 18, 2012

    It's been a month since Gov. Terry Branstad released the long-awaited Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy report for public comment. The report lays out the state's plan to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus leaving farm fields and entering lakes, rivers and streams. The plan is heralded by Iowa officials as praiseworthy and as an effective, workable approach to reduce pollution and improve water quality. Branstad, along with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and…

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    Ethanol's Future Is In Corn Residue

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on December 4, 2012

    DuPont came one step closer to commercializing advanced biofuels by breaking ground November 30 on its cellulosic ethanol manufacturing plant to be built at Nevada, Iowa. Completion is expected by mid-2014. The $200 million facility will be among the first and largest commercial-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the world. The new plant will produce 30 million gallons annually of ethanol from cornstalks, leaves and other plant material. The crop residue will be baled and delivered to the…

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