Home News Tuesday News, February 18th

Tuesday News, February 18th


Dairy Farmers of America Purchases Dean Foods

(Dallas, TX) — The largest milk processing company in America is reporting they have been sold to the largest dairy cooperative. Dean Foods has been sold to Dairy Farmers of America for the disclosed price of $425 million.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting the Kansas City, Kansas based agricultural cooperative will take over the bulk of Dean Foods plants, following the top U-S milk company’s bankruptcy filing in November. The deal would require the Justice Department and bankruptcy court approval, but it would maintain the market for milk, according to a news release by the
Dairy Farmers of America. The dairy cooperative would assume Dean Food’s liabilities as part of the deal to acquire 44 of the company’s facilities, as well as other assets. The Le Mars milk plant is included with the deal.




Floyd Valley River Watershed To Receive Grant For Water Quality Project

DES MOINES, Iowa (Feb. 17, 2020) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced on Monday that the Sioux County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) will receive state funding to expand the water quality improvement
(WQI) projects happening in the Floyd River watershed. The District will receive a grant for $872,700 over the next three years to help implement additional conservation practices to protect the West Branch of the Floyd

Since the Water Quality Initiative project began in 2014, farmers and landowners in the Floyd River watershed have planted 13,259 acres of cover crops, added more than 168,000 feet of terraces to reduce erosion, and installed one bioreactor and two saturated buffers.

Secretary Naig says, “Improving water quality is one of the most important issues we’re facing today. “These community-based projects are examples of the impact we can make when public and private partners and landowners work together to put conservation practices on the ground. Over the last three
years, these projects have made measurable progress in the effort to improve water quality and soil health. The Department is proud to support their efforts to build on this success.”


This monetary grant is funded through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative and supports collaborative, community-based projects in priority watersheds that help reduce the nutrient levels in Iowa’s water. Water Quality Initiative funds may be used to install priority conservation practices like wetlands, bioreactors, cover crops and saturated buffers. These practices are
scientifically-proven to reduce nutrient loads and are critical to helping the state achieve the goals outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.



Supervisors To Approve County Employee Bargaining Unit Contract

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the secondary road bargaining unit employees contract. The county governing board will also hear from Tim Leleman with DGR Engineering as he is appearing to seek approval of a Konopasek Addition in Union township.
County engineer Tom Rohe will appear before the supervisors to discuss and review road construction program.



City Council To Discuss And Approve Annual Comprehensive Financial Report

(Le Mars) — During today’s Le Mars city council meeting, city leaders is expected to approve the fiscal year 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The city council is also expected to approve the funding recommendations by CVB advisory Board, and they are expected to approve the
Surface Transportation Block Grant program application. Also scheduled for today’s city council meeting will be annual reports from the YMCA, Public Facilities and Public Works. City Finance Director Jacob Widman will review with the city council the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget.



Body Recovered From Collapsed Building

REMBRANDT, Iowa (AP) – The body of an employee killed in a barn collapse has been recovered from the wreckage in northwest Iowa. A structural failure early Friday morning at the Rembrandt Foods facility just east of Rembrandt caused a catastrophic collapse of equipment inside the building. Buena Vista County authorities say a search for the employee was suspended at 6 p.m. because of safety concerns for the people trying to find the worker. The search resumed Saturday, and the worker’s body was recovered around 2 p.m.
The worker’s name and other details about the accident haven’t been released.



Legislature Considers Bill To Restrict Urban Land Annexation

(Des Moines) — A bill that would prohibit Iowa cities from annexing most farmland has cleared initial review in the Iowa House, but bill backers say it needs major adjustments and is unlikely to meet Friday’s deadline for committee action. Kevin Kuhle (KEEL), a lobbyist for the Iowa Farm Bureau,
says the bill is the starting point for an important conversation.

The bill deals with voluntary AND involuntary annexation. That means it would prevent farmers who WANT the land to be annexed as they plan to sell it for development. Gary Grant is a lobbyist for the City of Cedar Rapids.

Representative Tom Jeneary, a Republican from Le Mars, says he hopes there’s some way to address farmers’ concerns.

The bill as currently written would bar cities from annexing farmland that’s rated at least 45 percent suitable for growing corn. Representative Tedd Gassman, a Republican from Scarville supports some sort of action to limit urban and suburban sprawl, but he says the bill as currently written is not the final answer.

According to the Iowa State University Extension Services, nearly four percent of prime Iowa farmland was taken out of production in the 35 year period between 1977 and 2012.



State Prepares For Flooding

(Des Moines) — Governor Kim Reynolds says state officials have been working with local emergency management coordinators to prepare for another round of flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers this spring.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (center) is with Missouri Governor Mike Parson (left) and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (right) as they met last year addressing the flooding issues.

National Weather Service forecasts describe the flood threat along the western Iowa border south of Sioux City as “grim” and, in eastern Iowa, there’s a 95 percent probability of flooding along the Mississippi. Last week, Governor Reynolds approved 21 million dollars in state funding for a variety of flood-related projects around the state. Most of the federally-owned MISSOURI River levees that were damaged last spring have been
repaired, according to Reynolds.

Reynolds says the Army Corps of Engineers has begun increasing the amount of water that’s being released in the Missouri River from reservoirs upstream — to hold SOME of the melting snow that’s expected in the river basin.

National Weather Service hydrologists say snow pack in Minnesota and Wisconsin is heavier than a year ago — adding to the flood risk downstream.
Last month, there was a flash flood in a Minneapolis suburb was caused by ice pack breaking up on the Mississipi River. This weekend, the National Weather Service in OMAHA issued a flood warning along the Platte River south of Fremont. The Platte drains into the Missouri River just south of Omaha.



Report Shows State Workers Did Not Act Fast Enough To Prevent Girl’s Death

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa report says state workers didn’t act soon enough on child-abuse reports about a 16-year-old girl who starved to death.
Officials have said Natalie Finn weighed only 81 pounds when she died in October 2016 in West Des Moines. An investigation report issued Monday by the state ombudsman’s office says more staffing, training and resources at the state’s top child-protective agency might have made prevented the abuse
that led to Natalie’s death. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds is seeking 47 new agency positions for fiscal 2021. Natalie’s adoptive mother has been sentenced to life in prison. Her adoptive father was given 30 years.



Man Makes Woman Watch “Roots” Television Series To Understand Racism

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Court records say an Iowa man made a woman watch the miniseries “Roots and told her it would make her better understand her racism. Robert Noye is charged in Cedar Rapids with harassment and false imprisonment. His attorney didn’t immediately return a call Tuesday from The
Associated Press. The miniseries was based on author Alex Haley’s family history, starting with the capture and enslavement of his ancestor Kunta Kinte in Africa. The woman reported that when she tried to move, Noye told her to remain seated or he would “kill her and spread her body parts” across the interstate on the way to Chicago.



Man Who Shot At Officers Pleads Guilty

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa man who opened fire on officers serving a warrant has pleaded guilty to federal gun and drug charges. Randall Comly is scheduled to be sentenced June 12 in Des Moines. He pleaded guilty this month to possession of methamphetamine for sale and two weapons charges.
Comly is accused of firing a handgun at officers on Oct. 17 as they tried to arrest him inside a Stuart apartment complex. The officers weren’t hit. They fired back, wounding Comly. Investigators have said the officers’ shots also injured two deputies posted outside the building.