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ACLU of Iowa challenges ‘ag gag’ law it says puts ‘the PR interests of one industry above the constitutional rights of its critics’

In March, just two months after a federal judge struck down Iowa’s “ag gag” law as unconstitutional, the Iowa legislature passed a new, almost identical version of the law. “So we’re doing another bill pretty similar to the last one which is going to end up … costing taxpayers more money [to defend in court],” Democratic Rep. Sharon Stockman from Mason City said during the Iowa House floor debate on Agricultural Facility Trespass Act. […]

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Meet a farmer: How Shanti Sellz works to make fresh food accessible

Located down a rolling gravel road just about eight miles west of Iowa City is Muddy Miss Farms at Walker Homestead, where farmer Shanti Sellz grows vegetables for her 22-week CSA share. The season begins in early May and continues through October, when her members regularly visit the farm to pick up a weekly supply […]

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Iowa Attorney General sues two animal rescue groups for fraud

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has filed a lawsuit to shut down two nonprofits claiming to be dog rescue groups that he says have engaged in fraud. Miller claims Hobo K9 Rescue in the north central Iowa town of Britt, and Rescue Pets Iowa of Ottumwa, are part of a national “puppy laundering” ring. “Puppy […]

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Iowa legislature passes new ‘ag gag’ law

Two months after a federal judge struck down Iowa’s “ag gag” law as unconstitutional, the Iowa legislature passed a new, similar law on Tuesday. The Agricultural Facility Trespass Act makes it a crime for a person to use “deception” to gain access to an agriculture production facility, or apply for a job at one, “with […]

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Iowa appeals federal judge’s ruling that its ‘ag gag’ law is unconstitutional

Iowa is appealing a federal district judge’s ruling that it’s “ag gag” law is unconstitutional. On Thursday, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller filed a notice of appeal and motion asking the district court to allow the law to remain in effect during the appeal. In his Jan. 9 decision striking down the law for violating […]

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Federal judge strikes down Iowa’s ‘ag gag’ law

A federal judge struck down Iowa’s “ag gag” law on Wednesday. Senior Judge James Gritzner of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa ruled the 2012 Iowa law that made it illegal to gain access to an agricultural production facility under false pretenses with “the intent to commit an act not authorized […]

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects request by Iowa and other states challenging California’s ban on eggs from chickens kept in small cages

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Iowa and 12 other states to fast-track their lawsuit against the state of California. The suit claims a 2008 California law that prohibits the sale of eggs from hens kept in cages that prevent them from “lying down, standing up, and fully extending his or […]

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Letter to the editor: The new farm bill does little to protect the future of agriculture

In an uncharacteristically productive event, Congress has passed the farm bill, the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. Ruminant commentators are asking: What’s missing in the farm bill? Their answers demonstrate that it pays little or no attention to preserving the environment where agriculture lives.
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Many small Iowa farms are squeezed out of the government’s family farm designation

By Molly Hunter, IowaWatch Small family-run farms that raise organically, without genetically modifying crops or by reducing their use of pesticides and antibiotics, are such a small part of the U.S. government’s definition of a family farm that they often are lost in the crowd when it comes to government and industry support. Some of […]

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Letter to the editor: Too many hogs, too much corporate greed

Two thousand four hundred ninety-nine. That is the magic maximum number of hogs allowed to construct a new confined animal feeding operation (CAFO, or factory farm) in Iowa without notifying local or county officials or adhering to state government regulations. Only a cursory review and approval by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and filing a plan for manure management with the county auditor, are required. There are no minimum requirements for acreage or distance from residences, schools, parks and sources of water unless the CAFO contains 2,500 hogs or more. […]

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SILT, Awful Purdies collaborate on music video to raise awareness of loss of farmland

With the release of a music video to the song “Common Ground” by the Awful Purdies, the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) is hoping to raise awareness about the ongoing loss of Iowa farmland to development and the challenges facing new farmers — and showcase the SILT’s effort to protect the land and support a new farming generation. […]

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‘Good Apples’ details the curious history of apples and challenges facing farmers

Author and Iowa City resident Susan Futrell starts out her book ‘Good Apples: Behind Every Bite’ with the auction of the oldest commercial apple orchard in Iowa: an orchard outside Fort Madison that had been in the same family for five generations, but now faced an uncertain future dependent upon the winning bidder. It’s a fitting place to start a book about the long history of apples in the United States and the uncertain future the apple industry faces in a global economy.
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