The Farm Bill Tour of US Representative Randy Feenstra of Hull will continue this week in O’Brien County. Feenstra will hold a Farm Bill Town Hall meeting at Alpha Ag Research, north of Douma Park, west of Sanborn on Wednesday, at 8-30am. At the meeting, Rep Feenstra will discuss the 2023 Farm Bill, issues of international trade and foreign ownership of farmland, particularly China, and his work on the Agriculture and Ways and Means Committees in the House. After the meeting, Feenstra will hold a press conference to introduce his Agriculture Advisory Board.
Later that day, Rep Feenstra is scheduled to speak to the Akron-Westfield FFA. This appearance was scheduled earlier, but postponed, due to inclement weather.
Iowans are being warned to beware of the latest rash of employment scams. Lisa Schiller, at the Better Business Bureau, says these scammers are generally targeting people between the ages of 18 and 34. She says consumers are having their information harvested off of different job search websites, like Indeed-dot-com.
That information can be used to conduct further scams, and the crooks also like to pair this with sending bad checks to the victims to get the money that way.
Employment scams ranked number-two on the bureau’s 2022 risk report, and Schiller says the reason they were so effective was COVID.
Schiller says if you encounter something shady in your job search, report it to the authorities.
RAW MILK SALES
A bill eligible for debate in the Iowa Senate would legalize the sale of raw milk at dairy farms. Esther Arkfeld of Harlan says when she lived in another state, she bought raw milk rather than formula for her baby, but found out when she moved to Iowa five years ago it was illegal here.
Raw milk enthusiasts like Arkfeld says unpasteurized milk tastes better and has more nutrients. Critics say raw milk has more bacteria and is dangerous for pregnant women. The diary industry opposes the bill. Justin LeVan is the secretary of the Iowa Dairy Foods Association, which represents dairy businesses.
Under the senate bill it still would be illegal to sell unpasteurized milk at restaurants and farmers markets, but raw milk and other products like cheese, yogurt and ice cream that are made with unpasteurized milk could be sold legally at the dairy where it’s processed. The Senate approved similar legislation a year ago, but bills to legalize raw milk sales have never been considered in the Iowa House.
GOVERNOR WILL SIGN GENDER BILL
Governor Kim Reynolds will soon sign a bill that would ban Iowa doctors from providing gender transition medication or procures to minors.Reynolds made her comments during an event in Davenport on Friday. The bill passed the Iowa House and Senate last week with Republican support. All Democrats in the legislature and five Republicans in the House voted against it. A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll released this morning has found 52 percent of the Iowans surveyed support the legislation.
SCHOOL BOARD AGENDA
The Le Mars Community School Board holds their regular monthly session this evening. The board will hear the annual audit report. There will be an open enrollment report for the next school year. The board will consider approval of a teacher contract settlement for 2023-24. Approval of teacher contracts, and the Superintendent’s contract extension will also be on the agenda. Next year’s school calendar will be the subject for a hearing, and possible approval. Due to weather cancellations this year, there will also be a recommendation for the official last day of school. The board meets tonight at 6 pm.
ELECTRIC BUCKET TRUCKS
MidAmerican Energy says it is the first utility company in the state to try all-electric utility trucks. Company spokesman, Geoff Greenwood, says these are the large bucket trucks that allow them to get up in the air and work on power lines.
He says the Des Moines-based company has purchased three trucks and they to put them through their paces in the field before buying more.
Greenwood says the trucks have a 135-mile range.
He says they have fast chargers at their facilities where the trucks can be charged overnight. Greenwood says they don’t make much noise — which will make it easier for crews to communicate in the field. He says they will put out no emissions, which allows crews train on them using an indoor facility.
Greenwood says the cost of operating the trucks is something they are also reviewing.
Greenwood says the trucks are charging up with renewable energy from their own wind farms — which brings things full circle.
The pace of presidential campaigning in Iowa is accelerating, with former President Donald Trump due in Davenport Monday and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was there Friday. DeSantis shared the stage with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. DeSantis touted how he and Reynolds responded to the pandemic by banning mask mandates and reopening schools.
A large crowd cheered DeSantis as he listed several bills he’s signed into law, including one that dissolves a special taxing district for Walt Disney World that gave the Disney Company authority over things like roads, water systems, garbage collection on the property.
DeSantis is here to promote his new book and is expected to enter the G-O-P’s 2024 presidential race later this year. He and Reynolds made another appearance together Friday evening in Des Moines.
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst hosted an event in Clive with former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley focused on foreign policy. Haley was appointed by Trump to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She’s on her second tour around Iowa after launching her presidential campaign in February.
During a discussion of the war in Ukraine, a man in the audience yelled that Ukraine is not our ally and he was done with the Republican Party if it’s the war party. Haley responded.
Haley says winning the war in Ukraine sends an important message to adversaries like Russia and China and will prevent a world war. The man who raised the issue then left. Trump’s event in Davenport Monday is his first event in Iowa since announcing he would run again for president. The Iowa Republican Party’s first in the nation Caucuses are less than a year away.
The latest report on the 19 state-regulated casinos shows their economic impact on the state once again topped one billion dollars in the last fiscal year. Racing and Gaming administrator, Brian Ohorilko, says that includes all the money spent by the facilities for payroll, goods and services and taxes. He says nearly 92 percent of spending by casinos is with Iowa companies and that increases to 96 percent when you take out things like slot machines and gaming equipment that are not made here. The report shows an economic impact of one-point-zero-77 ($1.077) billion dollars in the last fiscal year.