The Le Mars City Council passed a motion which sets a public hearing for the Le Mars Interchange Track Project. The use of rail is increasing in the industrial park, and there is a growing need for more track. Under this proposal, another siding would be built between Lincoln Street and 18th Street SW. The new track would accommodate 17 additional rail cars. The estimated cost of the project is 930-thousand dollars. The council passed a motion setting a public hearing for February 6. Bids would be due on March 12, and a contract awarded March 19. The council also approved an engineering agreement with Design Nine for this project. The contract totals 47-thousand dollars. The rail project, and the engineering contract would both be paid for through Tax Increment Finance proceeds.
Iowa Department of Transportation Planner Dakin Schultz asked the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors and the Le Mars city council for their support of a study of the BNSF rail crossing at Merrrill. DOT is applying for a federal grant to fund the study. The goal of the study is to identify alternatives to the crossing, in order to promote safety and strengthen the resiliency and reliability of the highway and railroad. 80% of the cost of the study will be covered by the US Department of Transportation, 10% by BNSF Railroad, 10% by the Iowa DOT. Once the study is complete, there will be a study of construction alternatives at that location. Schultz says the earliest a construction project could take place is 2029. The Supervisors approved drafting a letter of support for the study. Later, Schultz met with the Le Mars City Council. They, too, approved a letter of support to the study.
The annual Feedlot Forum in Sioux Center today provided livestock producers to hear the latest about their industry. Beth Doran, ISU Livestock Specialist, says this annual event is part trade show, part industry discussion.
One of the issues concerns a changing of the guard among industry leaders.
The Feedlot Forum keeps livestock producers up to date with their industry.
The effects of a new five year Farm Bill is another topic
Keynote speak, Mike Murphy form CattleFax, shared his vision when the cattle industry will expand.
Turnout was heavy in Le Mars for the Republican Precinct Caucuses Monday. Four precincts caucused at the Le Mars Convention Center. Across Plymouth County, former president Donald Trump 712, Florida Governor Ron De Santis 196, and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley 127. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy received 70 votes.
Mike Van Otterloo chaired the caucuses in Le Mars.
Van Otterloo said voters are excited about this election cycle.
Among northwest Iowa’s 12 counties, the order was Trump, De Santis, Haley in 9 counties, Trump, Haley, De Santis in 3 counties. Vivek Ramaswamy was a distant fourth in all 12 counties.
As expected, former President Donald Trump dominated the Republican precinct caucuses last (Monday) night, winning all but one of Iowa’s 99 counties. That county, Johnson County, went to former UN ambassador Nikki Haley. After the statewide caucus results were made known, Ramaswamy suspended his campaign.
The Plymouth County Sheriffs Office compiled a report of their activities during the winter storm. The report says between January 12 and 14, the Sheriffs Office made numerous attempts to keep Highway 3 in western Plymouth County open. A large truck mounted snowblower was brought in by Iowa’s Department of Transportation in an attempt to keep the highway open. During the blizzard warning, and despite no travel advisories and Highway 3 described as impassable, a number of rescues were made. Over the three days, ten semis and five passenger cars were rescued. All were occupied. Akron Fire and Rescue also assisted. Around the rest of the county, 35 motorist assists were reported, and two property damage accidents were reported.
LE MARS CITY COUNCIL
The Le Mars City Council will hold two hearings to begin their meeting today. One concerns the Le Mars Industrial Park project, and the second involves an offer to purchase property in the Le Mars Industrial Park. Action items include a request through the Iowa Department of Transportation for expanding railroad capacity in the industrial park, and rezoning of property from rural to Industrial. Consideration of purchase of a new police vehicle is also on the agenda.
CORN AND SOYBEAN YIELDS
Despite a prolonged drought, Iowans once again produced an historically strong corn and soybean crop.
2023 Iowa crop production highlights include:
- At 201 bushels per acre and 2.52 billion bushels of production, this year’s Iowa corn crop ranks as the 4th highest yield and 5th largest production in state history and helped drive the national corn yield and production to all-time record levels.
- At 58 bushels per acre and 573 million bushels of production, this year’s soybean crop ranked as the 4th highest yield and 3rd highest production in Iowa history, contributing to the country’s 4th highest yield and 7th largest soybean crop ever.