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News for Thursday, November 24

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COOKING FIRES

Studies show there are more cooking fires on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. Fire prevention expert Amanda Swenson says all you should know how to use a fire extinguisher before there’s a sudden flare-up on the stove. Thirty-four lives have been lost in house fires in Iowa so far this year, which tracks closely with last year during which 29 people died in fires statewide. Five children died in Iowa housefires just this month, one in Walcott and four in Mason City. Whenever you’re cooking on the stove, whether it’s in a pot, saucepan or skillet, Swenson suggests you have a big metal lid nearby that could fit over any of them.  She says the easiest thing to do is if there is a fire on the stovetop is to put a lid on top and turn off the burner. The National Fire Protection Association say Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are a close second and third to Thanksgiving for cooking fires.

 

SIOUX CITY MARCH

The 20th Annual Memorial March for Lost Children was Wednesday in Sioux City. The march began as a protest against the number of Native American children placed in the foster care system in Woodbury County. Native American advocate, Terry Medina, spoke as the march got underway.

Briar Cliff University hosted workshops Tuesday in Sioux City to reflect on the struggle of native communities with the child welfare system.  Medina was part of the workshops and says they want to help people understand and heal from the past.

Manape LaMere says they also work to examine the barriers that the Native community faces, both legally and socially.

The march included prayers along the way, and concluded with a dinner.

 

FARMLAND VALUES

Iowa State University ag economist Chad Hart says the recent sale of 73 acres of northwest Iowa farmland — for 30-thousand dollars an acre — indicates Iowa farmers are seeing fairly good profit margins.

Higher interest rates are a factor, plus Hart says agland that’s not rated as excellent ground for raising corn isn’t selling for especially high prices.

On November 11th, a tract of farmland near Sheldon appears to have set an Iowa sales record of 30-thousand dollars an acre. It was purchased by a local farmer according to the auctioneer who handled the sale. The value of farmland that’s enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program appears to be holding steady, according to Hart.

There’s a calculation called the “corn suitability rating” for agland and Hart says there’s a limited number of tracts of that highly rated ground for raising corn coming up for sale.

Hart is currently the crop market specialist in Iowa State University’s Department of Economics. Hart began his career at Iowa State in 1996 in I-S-U’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

 

RAIL STRIKE IMPACTS

Iowa State University economist Peter Orazem (oh-RAH-zem) says if there’s a railroad strike next month, it could affect shipments of coal — which is a major source of fuel for power plants. Just over a third of Iowa’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants. Eight unions have ratified a five-year contract for workers on America’s freight rail system. However, in the past few days, unions representing about 60-thousand railroad workers have rejected the deal. A strike could happen as soon as December 5th. However, Orazem expects congress would intervene — as it did during the last railroad strike in 1992.