Ag + Environment

Financial penalties for animal neglect are small, rare and may go unpaid

BY: - October 17, 2021

In October 2019, Chris Swigart, a special agent with the Iowa Division Criminal Investigation, drove down Timber Road in the rural Wayne County town of Russell and slowed his vehicle. Swigart was there to check out a reported unlicensed dog-breeding operation called Elite Basset Hounds, run by Michael Johnson and his husband, Juan Johnson. Although […]

Court will hear dog breeder’s request to transfer 189 dogs

BY: - October 16, 2021

A federal judge has agreed to hear a request by Wayne County dog breeder Daniel Gingerich to transfer all 189 dogs still in his possession to an Indiana organization. Earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge Stephanie Rose ordered Gingerich, who is accused of more than 100 violations of Animal Welfare Act, to surrender all dogs […]

‘Climate change is fundamentally altering the Colorado River’: States, tribes grapple with drought

BY: - October 16, 2021

States in the Colorado River Basin are adjusting to the reality that their rights outstrip the available water by nearly one-third, state and tribal leaders told a congressional panel Friday. The situation is likely only to worsen as the climate changes, leaving states and tribes in competition for their most vital resource. Representatives from the […]

Puppy mill owner now wants to rid himself of 189 dogs

BY: - October 15, 2021

Wayne County dog breeder Daniel Gingerich is asking a federal judge for permission to transfer all 189 dogs still in his possession to an Indiana organization that claims to be a charitable animal-rescue group. Earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge Stephanie Rose ordered Gingerich, who is accused of more than 100 violations of Animal […]

Timely rains salvaged Iowa crop yields

BY: - October 15, 2021

Corn and soybean yields in drought-stricken parts of northern Iowa were saved this year by sporadic rainfall that fortuitously arrived each time crops were in desperate need. “The corn in June, you thought some of it was going to die,” said Darrell Henkenius, the chief executive of Farmers Cooperative Elevator Company in Arcadia. “We had […]

Economist: John Deere workers likely to prevail with strike

BY: - October 14, 2021

The 10,000 Deere & Co. workers who went on strike Thursday have a strong negotiating position and are likely to succeed in getting more pay and better retirement benefits in their next contract, predicted Dave Swenson, an economist at Iowa State University. “They’re not striking from a position of weakness,” Swenson said. “From what I […]

Climate group urges beefier electric grid

BY: - October 13, 2021

Iowa should prioritize updates to its electrical power grid in the coming years to protect residents from outages caused by devastating storms and to meet increased demands that will follow the rise of electric vehicles. That is the latest recommendation from a group of more than 200 university and college professors and researchers who released […]

State announces puppy mill inspections in advance: ‘Let’s do Wednesday at 10:30’

BY: - October 11, 2021

State inspections at Iowa’s dog-breeding facilities are supposed to take place on a “surprise” basis, but some of Iowa’s biggest offenders have their inspections scheduled at their own convenience. Although the federal U.S. Department of Agriculture handles the enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship also plays […]

State hits puppy mill owner with $20k fine and license suspension

BY: - October 4, 2021

In a rare move, Iowa regulators are imposing a significant fine against a dog breeder that federal officials have called one of the nation’s biggest repeat violators. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is fining Wayne County breeder Daniel Gingerich $20,000 and suspending his Iowa license for 60 days, the department announced Monday. […]

Citing ‘shocking’ actions of Iowa dog breeder, judge issues restraining order

BY: - October 1, 2021

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against an Iowa dog breeder described by regulators as one of the nation’s biggest repeat violators. U.S. District Court Judge Stephanie Rose issued the order this week, just one day after the U.S. Department of Agriculture brought suit against Daniel Gingerich, formerly of Seymour, for numerous […]

‘Wildfire year’ meant record days at high alert, Forest Service chief says

BY: - September 29, 2021

The U.S. Forest Service spent more consecutive days this summer at the agency’s highest level of preparedness for wildfires than in any previous year, Forest Service Chief Randy Moore told a U.S. House subcommittee Wednesday. Moore’s comments reflected the growing danger from more intense and harder-to -control fires that have swept Western and Midwestern states […]

Iowa is one of the nation's top producers of wind energy. (Photo by Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

OSHA to ramp up workplace heat checks as global warming advances

BY: - September 29, 2021

Federal workplace safety regulators say they are taking steps toward protecting workers from heat-related illness. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Sept. 24 announced that it will finally establish a federal workplace heat standard. The agency also promised an expansion of heat inspections and enforcement of rules protecting against heat hazards.  Iowa recorded 882 […]