A Winter Weather Advisory was in effect for all of Siouxland on Thursday with some snow expected. Sioux City could see a total of 3 inches today and breezy conditions overnight. As temperatures fall, road conditions are expected to deteriorate. The National Weather Service says to keep a close eye on local conditions and for updated forecasts on the website weather.gov. There is a Winter Storm Warning for about two dozen counties in northeast Iowa through tonight.
Despite some improvement in drought conditions, runoff into the Missouri River above Sioux City remains below normal.
February runoff into the river's upper basin in February was 1 million acre-feet, 86% of average, according to a report in the Sioux City Journal.
The latest drought monitor released today shows parts of eastern Nebraska and a small sliver of western Iowa, including Woodbury and Monona Counties, are still experiencing exceptional drought, the highest category possible.
Democratic State Auditor Rob Sand says a bill that passed the Iowa Senate this week would severely limit his ability to root out government corruption and would be “catastrophic” for the state’s finances.
Republicans in the Senate introduced and passed legislation in the same day that would bar the state auditor’s office from accessing a lot of different kinds of information, unless the agency that’s being investigated agrees to provide it.
Sand says it’s the most pro-corruption bill he’s seen out of the Iowa Legislature.
“This bill is wrong-headed. It is dangerous. And we cannot, we cannot see this pass if we want to have government accountability.”
Republicans who support the bill say it’s needed to protect the personal information of Iowans. Sand says his office follows national auditing standards. He says the bill could also impact the state’s bond and credit ratings and jeopardize federal funding.
A former federal official who served under both Republican and Democratic presidents says parts of the bill “are inconsistent with Generally Accepted Government Accounting Standards.” Sand says he hopes legislators heed these concerns.
The University of Iowa’s Athletics Department will be covering the entire cost of this week’s legal settlement with ex-football players.
The announcement came at an early morning House subcommittee meeting on a bill to force the university to make that move, rather than use $2 million taxpayer money to cover nearly half of the payout.
University President Barbara Wilson says she’s “deeply committed” to student success and well-being on and off the field.
Attorneys for a dozen former University of Iowa players who alleged the Hawkeye football program was a racially hostile environment will be paid about half of the settlement, and the 12 players will split the rest equally.
An Iowa company that plans to make boards out of the leftover stalks and leaves from corn known as stover finally plans to begin construction in Sac County, outside of Odebolt. The founder and CEO of Cornboard tells Radio Iowa the original start-up was delayed by the supply chain and other issues. The company will make pallets out of the corn-based boards.
Submitted news releases:
Rural Iowa Report Shows Large Farms Continue to Grow as Small Farms Decrease
Farm trends publication highlights the changing landscape of Iowa agriculture
Rise in farm incomesCommodity differences
AMES, Iowa – A recent farm trends publication from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach discusses changing farm trends between 2011 and 2021, including farm sizes, production values, net incomes and debt.
In Rural Iowa at a Glance, Farm Trends (2022 Edition), David Peters, professor and extension rural sociologist at Iowa State University, shares data that shows the way agriculture in the state is shifting.
One aspect of farming that has seen a great deal of change is farm size. In the past 10 years, the number of large commercial farms has doubled, while the number of small farms has decreased by 27%. Small farms have also seen sizable reductions in sales and acres farmed, with sales dropping by 59% and acres farmed dropping by 47%.
The drop in farm sales and acres farmed is tied to the fact that 68% of farms in Iowa are now operated by people who do not make the majority of their income through farming. Many small farms are operated by people who have a non-farm income or are retired, and the farm primarily serves as a place to live rather than work.
“As the numbers demonstrate, farming can be incredibly variable," said Peters. "We also have a severe labor shortage in the non-farm economy, so workers in rural Iowa have options. People can choose the farm life, which involves a huge capital investment and a lot of volatility, or they can choose an off-farm job, which offers a much more stable income. For many, having an off-farm job while maintaining a small farm provides the best of both worlds.”
According to Peters, the data also reflects a sharp and somewhat unexpected rise in net farm incomes between 2020 and 2021. Net farm incomes increased across all farm commodities in Iowa, as well as all farm sizes and classes. This increase in net farm income allowed many farms to pay down debts, especially small and midsized farms, which saw high levels of debt utilization between 2016 and 2020.
“I was surprised by how much net farm incomes grew,” said Peters. “I knew that farm incomes would rise, however, with many government support payments for COVID and trade disputes ending in 2021, I did not expect to see commodity prices rise by as much as they did to offset those supports.”
While there was a net increase in farm incomes across all commodities, some commodities saw greater increases than others. Corn and soybean farms have seen steadily growing incomes, with net farm incomes doubling since 2011. Hog farms have also seen steady growth, but net farm income was still 21% lower in 2021 than in 2011. Poultry has been much more variable, as although net farm income has grown by 200% since 2011, poultry farms saw a large dip in income between 2013-14 due to salmonella and bird flu outbreaks.
One area of concern for Peters was the cattle sector. “Incomes in the cattle industry have not increased in the same way other commodities have increased, and many cattle farms haven’t been able to pay down debt as a result,” he added.
Peters also noted that the dairy industry has seen sharp decreases in number of farms as well as acres farmed since 2011, which is another concern. “Our dairy sector in Iowa was small to begin with but has really gone into decline in terms of numbers,” he said. “The dairy industry has a long history in the state, but the trends that I am seeing indicate that this decline may unfortunately continue.”
The full report is available on the Iowa State University Extension Store. For more information, contact David Peters at 515-294-6303 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Governor Reynolds announces $26.88 million in Destination Iowa projects, invests an additional $15 million for rural Iowa
DES MOINES -- Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced $26.88 million in grant funding through the final round of Destination Iowa, a $100 million investment in quality of life and tourism attractions. In recognition of the high interest in the program, Gov. Reynolds also announced an additional investment of $15 million to fund Destination Iowa applications from rural communities that did not receive grants in previous rounds.
In all, Destination Iowa awards were granted to 46 projects totaling $115 million that activated $480,265,783 in total investment.
“Destination Iowa has inspired communities in all corners of the state to dream big about projects that will bolster quality of life and attract newcomers,” Gov. Reynolds said. “The demand is so high, especially in rural areas, that I’ve extended the program to help more rural communities realize those dreams.”
IEDA opened the Destination Iowa program in May 2022 and accepted applications through December 31. Applications were scored based on eligibility, completeness, and the project’s ability to meet the program goal of creating transformational tourism attractions. Destination Iowa grants have been open to cities, counties, nonprofits and other organizations through four separate funds: Economically Significant Development, Outdoor Recreation, Tourism Attraction, and Creative Placemaking.
The seventh round of Destination Iowa funded the following 10 projects. For the additional $15 million, IEDA reviewed applications already submitted by rural communities, defined as 30,000 residents or fewer that are not adjacent to communities of 30,000 or more residents.
Final awards made from the original $100 million allocation:
The Dubuque Art Museum was awarded $8,000,000 toward the construction of a new museum and a 10,000-square-foot outdoor sculpture garden. The award represents 20% of the total project investment of $39,931,512.
The Dickinson County Conservation Board was awarded $3,500,000 to develop the new Sherwood Forest Park on the former site of The Inn at Okoboji resort. The award represents 35% of the total project investment of $10,013,197.
The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines was awarded $3,280,000 for major upgrades including a new Big Cat Conservation exhibit and an expanded seal and sea lion facility. The award represents 18% of the total project investment of $18,000,000.
The City of Cedar Rapids was awarded $3,000,000 toward the LightLine Loop project in the Czech Village and NewBo District. The award represents 16% of the total project investment of $19,255,775.
The City of Dubuque was awarded $3,000,000 for the addition of an open-air amphitheater on Schmitt Island. The award represents 19% of the total project investment of $15,442,961.
The City of Marshalltown was awarded $2,000,000 for the Linn Creek District development and creative placemaking efforts. The award represents 32% of the total project investment of $6,251,115.
Story County Conservation was awarded $1,500,000 to pave a portion of the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail east of Ames, connecting to Nevada and Maxwell. This award represents 31% of the total project investment of $4,819,000.
The India Heritage & Cultural Center was awarded $900,000 toward expanding the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center near Madrid. The award represents 23%of the total project investment of $3,976,023.
The Putnam Museum and Science Center in Davenport was awarded $900,000 toward an expansion project. The award represents 23% of the total project investment of $3,965,449.
The African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids was awarded $800,000 toward major renovations at the museum and the reinstallation of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-inspired “Trumpet” sculpture and garden. The award represents 17% of the total project investment of $4,827,339.
Awards made from the additional $15 million:
The Southeast Iowa Sports Commission was awarded $2,500,000 to develop the Ottumwa SportsPlex Development Project. The award represents 23% of the total project investment of $10,737,449.
The Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Association was awarded $500,000 to improve and enhance existing campground facilities at the Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Association grounds. The award represents 38% of the total project investment of $1,312,525.
Jasper County Conservation was awarded $550,000 for the Jasper County Conservation Environmental Education Center. The award represents 25% of the total project investment of $2,204,509.
The City of Denison was awarded $4,500,000 for the Crawford County Wellness and Recreation Center. The award represents 24% of the total project investment of $18,643,000.
America's First Great Dam Foundation was awarded $115,000 for the 1913 Hydro-Electric Turbine Visitor Center project in Keokuk. The award represents 38% of the total project investment of $303,325.
Wapello County was awarded $500,000 for improvements and enhancements to the Pioneer Ridge Park Campground. The award represents 40% of the total project investment of $1,260,975.
The Clayton County Conservation Board was awarded $345,000 to modernize and enhance the Osborne Welcome Center and Campground. The award represents 40% of the total project investment of $862,500.
The City of Treynor was awarded $800,000 for a multi-phase park and recreation project. The award represents 31% of the total project investment of $2,577,455.
Jefferson County was awarded $450,000 for improvements and enhancements to the Jefferson County Prairie Ridge Campground. The award represents 39% of the total project investment of $1,166,430.
The City of Dayton and the Dayton Community Club were awarded $800,000 for improvements to the Dayton Oak Park Trails Rodeo and Events Center. The award represents 34% of the total project investment of $2,372,703.
The City of Keosauqua was awarded $300,000 for the Lower Des Moines Water Trail. The award represents 32% of the total project investment of $950,249.
The Stanton Community Foundation and Montgomery County were awarded $850,000 for the Stanton Area Trail Project. The award represents 35% of the total project investment of $2,456,110.
Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji was awarded $185,000 for the Art Smart Children’s Interactive Gallery project. The award represents 25% of the total project investment of $749,303.
Osceola County Conservation Board was awarded $200,000 to expand the Willow Creek Campground. The award represents 40% of the total project investment of $500,000.
The YMCA of Washington County was awarded $750,000 for an Indoor Aquatic Center. The award represents 10% of the total project investment of $7,689,975.
Marshall County Conservation was awarded $400,000 to improve and further develop the Green Castle Recreation Area Campground. The award represents 34% of the total project investment of $1,160,000.
The City of Muscatine was awarded $1,000,000 for the Muscatine Indoor Sports Complex. The award represents 25% of the total project investment of $4,000,000.
The City of Fort Madison was awarded $250,000 for the Fort Madison River Landing project. The award represents 11% of the total project investment of $2,256,317.
Funded projects must be completed by June 30, 2026. For more information on the Destination Iowa program, visit iowaeda.com/destination-iowa/. Funding for this program has been made available through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.