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Have fun and learn how to help an iconic butterfly at the Iowa City Monarch Festival

The fourth annual Iowa City Monarch Festival on Sunday is a celebration with a purpose. The two-hour event at the Iowa City Municipal Airport not only gives people a chance to enjoy monarch butterflies—as well as family-friendly crafts and snacks—but also learn what they can do to help the icon butterfly. […]

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Linn County plans Dows Farm ‘agrihood,’ a housing development based around a farm

Outside Cedar Rapids, a different type of neighborhood is being planned. Imagine a golf course community, but instead of 18 holes, a small farm serves as the central amenity. The Dows Farm Agri-Community, an agrihood consisting of varied housing units, a farm and different services and trails, is planned to be built on 179 acres of […]

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Mental health care providers in flood-stricken rural areas are short-handed, but expecting more demand

Iowa does not have enough psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists or other mental health care providers to handle an increasing need to care for farmers dealing with relentless flooding this year, several mental health experts IowaWatch interviewed warned. […]

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How planting prairie strips on Iowa farms could save soil, water, wildlife and money — in-state and beyond

A solution to some of the biggest problems facing farmers, and some of the biggest environmental challenges in the state, has deep roots in Iowa’s past. Roughly 85 percent of Iowa’s 36 million acres were covered with prairie plants when the U.S. frontier pushed into what would become the state of Iowa in the 19th century. Now, less than one-10th of one percent of that 30 million acres of prairie exists. […]

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Sen. Grassley applies for federal farm bailout money for the second time in six months

Sen. Chuck Grassley wants a share of the $16 billion in federal aid to farms and other agricultural-based businesses the Trump administration announced last week, the Des Moines Register reported on Friday. The aid package includes $14.5 billion in direct payments to farmers, and Grassley, who co-owns a farm in Butler County with his son […]

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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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