Ag + Environment

Naig: State looks to boost smaller meat processors, connect farmers with schools

BY: - February 19, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the need for more aid to small- and medium-sized meat processors and added work to connect farmers with customers online and at farmers’ markets, Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said Friday. Naig told the Iowa Farmers Union he called a meat locker to get a steer processed, and the appointment is […]

Lawmakers advance plan to let grocers opt out of bottle bill

BY: - February 18, 2021

Legislation that would allow grocers to opt out of the state’s bottle bill if there is a redemption center within 20 miles cleared a Senate subcommittee Thursday. Sen. Ken Rozenboom, R-Oskaloosa, said Senate File 368 is intended to address concerns of grocers and others, and he hopes bigger issues can be addressed later. The bill […]

Bills to set new standards, restrictions for biofuels advance

BY: - February 17, 2021

A pair of bills aimed at increasing sales of ethanol and biofuels by setting the state’s first biofuel standards cleared two legislative subcommittees Wednesday. Gov. Kim Reynolds proposed the measure. It would set minimum standards, declaring anything less than 15% ethanol a restricted fuel after Jan. 1, 2025. The state’s tax credit program would be […]


Reynolds’ shifting views on personal choice could give Iowans whiplash

BY: - February 16, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ message for Iowans has been consistent since the coronavirus pandemic arrived a year ago: Yes, wearing masks is important, the governor has made clear, but government should leave it to people to do right thing. Reynolds has been under intense pressure, both for and against facial masks. Advocates for a mask mandate […]

biofuel gasoline gas pump ethanol fuel

Governor’s ethanol mandate has some powerful groups fuming

BY: - February 15, 2021

What Gov. Kim Reynolds saw as a chance to expand Iowa’s nation-leading biofuels industry has turned into a high-octane political fight among some of the most powerful interest groups in the state. Reynolds is proposing to require ethanol and biodiesel at all convenience stores and other retailer fuel outlets. Her plan would allow just one […]

Interior Department to review Bureau of Land Management move to Colorado

BY: - February 14, 2021

The Biden administration is reviewing the Bureau of Land Management headquarters’ recent move from Washington, D.C., to western Colorado, even as the state’s congressional delegation has united in bipartisan opposition to any attempt to reverse the decision. An Interior Department spokesperson said this week that the department’s “new leadership will work with BLM career staff […]

Lawmakers want to follow the money as bottle bill debate fizzes up again

BY: - February 12, 2021

The Iowa Legislature needs to fix the state’s decades-old bottle and can deposit law this year, or crush it, a key lawmaker said this week.  Proposed legislation would force distributors to reveal how much money they pocket from customers who don’t return cans and bottles to get their deposits back. And there is talk of […]

GOP lawmakers move to chop forest tax break; Dems criticize post-derecho timing

BY: - February 11, 2021

Iowa GOP senators on Thursday advanced a bill they see as a long-overdue reining in of undeserved forest reserve tax breaks for land that in some cases doesn’t qualify. Democrats called the legislation as ill-timed as Iowans try to recover from an August derecho that flattened 25% of the state’s tree canopy and as the […]

Senate environmental panel advances EPA nomination

BY: - February 9, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted Tuesday to move forward the nomination of Michael Regan to lead the EPA. Following that bipartisan 14-6 vote, the nomination of Regan, the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, now will head to the full Senate for confirmation. The chairman of the […]

State: Drought lingers despite extra precipitation in January

BY: - February 7, 2021

A slightly wetter than usual January did little to ease drought in the western half of Iowa, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reported. The state saw an extra 0.35 inches of precipitation in January, but also averaged 4 degrees warmer than usual.  The U.S. Drought Monitor reported  a small area of northwest Iowa was […]

Public lands protections could move ahead in Congress this year

BY: - February 7, 2021

Democrats in Congress have a rare opportunity to advance an ambitious public lands agenda — if they can keep their tenuous majorities in line. They’re also working with a new president of the same party who’s pledged to expand wilderness protections and highlighted climate change as one of his top three priorities. Several bills that […]

Renewable energy backers: Sun could go down on tax credits without state action

BY: - February 5, 2021

Iowa’s tax credits for businesses and homeowners who install solar panels could disappear next year unless state lawmakers approve legislation extending them.  House File 221 would extend state tax credits on 15% of project costs for 10 years. It also would clear a backlog of tax credit applications totaling approximately $9 million and double the […]