Ag + Environment

Reynolds backs major water quality initiative, reviews mixed

BY: - January 14, 2020

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday called for a sales tax increase to fund $150 million in annual  water quality, conservation and outdoor recreation work. The 1 percentage point increase in sales tax would be offset by accelerated cuts in income taxes and trims in property taxes associated with mental health programs, which also would […]

Bill would create special driver’s license for teen farm workers

BY: - January 13, 2020

For Iowa teenagers helping their families out on the farm, there’s a new bill that would create a new special license that could let them drive a vehicle up to 50 miles in Iowa. The bill, introduced by Iowa Sen. Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone, authorizes the Iowa Department of Transportation to issue a “special minor farm […]

NRCS seeks comment on conservation easement rule

BY: - January 13, 2020

The U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service will accept public comments through March 6 on its interim rule on the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, part of changes in the 2018 farm bill. “Through easements, agricultural landowners are protecting agricultural lands from development, restoring grazing lands and returning wetlands to their natural conditions,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr […]

COMMENTARY
he State Capital of Iowa is reflected by the Henry A Wallace Building

Iowa Legislature 2020: IWILL or IWON’T?

BY: - January 13, 2020

IWILL or IWON’T?  That’s a dilemma for Iowa Republican legislators as they open their new session in an election year that could challenge their majority. Will they raise the state sales tax a penny to pay for expensive water quality and mental-health programs? Or won’t they? Here are a few factors lawmakers may consider as […]

COMMENTARY
The Des Moines River in downtown Des Moines serves as a water supply and a growing recreational draw.

Don’t let special interests hijack natural resources fund

BY: - January 10, 2020

I have lived and worked on a small Sac County farm for the past 41 years. During our time on the farm, my family has restored wetlands and used sustainable farming methods. We have planted native trees and shrubs and worked to restore native fish habitats for endangered species. We have planted native grasses in […]

What’s Gov. Kim Reynolds got to worry about?

BY: - January 10, 2020

Gov. Kim Reynolds doesn’t seem to have a lot of worries these days.  She’s starting the second legislative session of her four-year term.  Her Republican Party controls both chambers of the Legislature. And her campaign just announced record-breaking fundraising for this stage of any Iowa governor’s term. Reynolds sat down with Iowa Capital Dispatch recently […]

‘How do you hide five grizzly bears?’

BY: - January 9, 2020

Many animals from the now-closed Cricket Hollow zoo were unaccounted for when animal-welfare groups arrived to relocate them. “It was apparent that the lion’s share of the animals – no pun intended – were missing when we first arrived there,” said Amanda Howell, an attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Last year brought 6 inches extra rain to Iowa

BY: - January 9, 2020

A new state report shows Iowa got six inches more rain than usual in 2019. It was the 12th-wettest year on record, with 41.5 inches of rain, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and partners reported. “2019 was a very wet year, but so was 2018. The last two years combined were the wettest two […]

The Raccoon River in the Des Moines area is among the most-polluted in the state.

Environmentalists: DNR failing to protect public

BY: - January 9, 2020

Iowa environmentalists charge that the state government is directly threatening the health of swimmers and other recreationalists by failing to adequately inform the public of risks and by falling behind on a federally required warning system.  The Iowa Department of Natural Resources “is not meeting its legal obligation to submit the (impaired waters) list by […]

DNR investigates red stream in Davenport

BY: - January 8, 2020

State environmental investigators are still looking into what caused a red sheen on Crow Creek in northern Davenport on Tuesday. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the city of Davenport reported that the pollution appears to be a nontoxic dye from a nearby property. No harm to the environment is expected, but state officials […]

Veterinary board won’t initiate probe of zoo vet

BY: - January 8, 2020

The Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine will not initiate its own investigation into the veterinarian who worked for the recently shuttered Cricket Hollow Zoo in Manchester. The board chairman, Dr. Keith Leonard of Atlantic, said Tuesday that no one has complained to the board about the veterinary care at the privately run zoo, and the […]

Lawmakers assess business groups’ agendas

BY: - January 7, 2020

Iowa’s business groups are largely in agreement on what they think lawmakers should do for commerce in the session that starts Jan. 13. They are hungry for another round of tax cuts. They need workers, badly, and that means finding a way to coax potential employees of all ages to move to, and stay, in […]