Ag + Environment

COVID-19 has suspended bottle returns; grocers want to make that permanent

BY: - March 29, 2020

Iowa grocers hope a temporary reprieve from accepting empty beverage cans and bottles from customers will become permanent, the head of their association acknowledged. But in case that doesn’t happen, grocers and convenience stores in the Iowa Grocery Industry Association also have petitioned the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to change how the so-called bottle […]

Iowa state park restrooms closed, camping limited

BY: - March 28, 2020

Iowa’s state parks have closed restrooms through April 15 and will limit camping to enclosed campers due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reported. The parks remain open. Visitors must bring their own hand sanitizers because no soap will be provided. Shelters, camping cabins, youth camps and lodges are closed due […]

Iowa DNR eases environmental rules during COVID-19 outbreak

BY: - March 27, 2020

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has eased a range of environmental regulations and application deadlines through at least April 30 in response to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ emergency declarations related to the COVID-19 outbreak. DNR will suspend fines for violations of various regulations, allow farmers to house extra hogs in barns if needed, extend deadlines […]

Inspections halted at Iowa’s food processing plants

BY: - March 26, 2020

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals has indefinitely suspended all routine inspections at the state’s food-processing plants. The agency is under contract with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to handle the inspection of Iowa’s food processing and manufacturing plants. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA recently issued an order instructing all states […]


Scientists move to protect gorillas, Iowa’s bonobos from COVID-19

BY: - March 24, 2020

Ever since I visited Rwanda’s mountain gorillas in 2009 and started following a bonobo research center in Des Moines, I’ve cringed any time there is a coronvirus outbreak. And not just because it’s a health threat to people all over the globe. Great apes are susceptible to human respiratory illnesses, whether they are mountain gorillas […]

Iowa biofuels plants donate materials for prisoners to make hand sanitizer

BY: - March 23, 2020

Two Iowa biofuels plants are the first to provide materials for Iowa prisoners to use to make hand sanitizers the state will distribute for free.

Des Moines Water Works plant operators to be sequestered in campers

BY: - March 19, 2020

Des Moines Water Works plant operators are moving into about a dozen rented campers spread among three treatment plants, where they will be sequestered on a week-to-week basis during the COVID-19 outbreak, a utility spokeswoman said.  Public affairs manager Laura Sarcone said 10 campers are in place along Fleur Drive at the main treatment plant […]

EPA extends deadline for air toxics grant apps

BY: - March 19, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has extended the deadline for communities to apply for grants to help with monitoring toxic air pollution until May 1. EPA periodically awards these grants to help communities focus on local air pollution issues. The federal government regulates 187 air pollutants linked to cancer and other illnesses. The programs operate […]

State panel gives initial approval to new hunting, trapping seasons

BY: - March 17, 2020

The Iowa Natural Resource Commission on Tuesday gave initial approval to new rules that would allow people to kill more otters, bobcats, turkeys and deer in parts the state. The commission will accept comments through April 28 before a final vote is taken. Based on state research showing stronger numbers, the state wants to allow hunters […]

DNR chief: No park closures for now

BY: - March 17, 2020

Iowa Department of Natural Resources director Kayla Lyon said Tuesday the state parks will remain open for now. That said, the governor has banned gatherings of more than 10 people. “We are going to continue to do as much as we can as a department,” Lyon told the Iowa Natural Resource Commission, which met by […]

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Corteva confirms COVID-19 case in Johnston

BY: - March 17, 2020

An employee at Corteva Agriscience’s Johnston campus tested positive for COVID-19 this week, the company confirmed. Many employees were told to work at home beginning this week. “We can confirm that an employee at our Johnston office has tested positive for COVID-19,” said company spokesman Gregg Schmidt, via email from company headquarters in Wilmington, Del. […]

Marcus Branstad self-isolating family after day care closes as a precaution

BY: - March 17, 2020

Iowa state natural resources commissioner Marcus Branstad is staying home with his family after his child’s day care closed to help guard against the spread of coronavirus. One of the parents of another child at the center works at a hospital where an employee tested positive for COVID-19. No one at the day care had […]