First the Trump tariff payments and then the trade deals, says president

The government will send billions of dollars in trade war payments to farmers over the next two months or so, said President Trump in Iowa on Tuesday, with the promise of booming business with China, Japan and Mexico in the near future. “Within a year and a half, I would say, you’ll …

Corn and soybean planting is half of normal due to wet spring

Wet weather is holding corn and soybean planting far behind usual rates for the first week in May, the USDA said Monday. Economist Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois said on social media that half of the corn crop must be planted in the next two weeks to avoid the large yield losses that accompany later-than-optimal seeding.

Many water wells in Iowa tainted by farm runoff, report finds

More than 40 percent of private wells tested positive for coliform bacteria at least once over a 16-year period, according to a new study of Iowa state records by the Environmental Working Group and the Iowa Environmental Council.

Central figure in Iowa nutrient runoff case, Bill Stowe, dies of cancer

Bill Stowe, a central figure in the 2015 lawsuit by the Des Moines Water Works that tried to hold drainage districts in three northwest Iowa counties responsible for nutrient runoff from farms, died of cancer on Sunday at age 60. He retired as general manager of the utility on April 2 because of the illness, said the Des Moines Register.

Beef packing merger threatens last competitive cash cattle market in U.S.

Last month, the nation’s fourth-largest beef packer, National Beef, announced plans to take over Sysco-owned Iowa Premium, a regional packer focused on processing Black Angus steers for the Upper Midwest. National Beef is majority-owned by the Brazilian firm Marfrig. (No paywall)

World Pork Expo is canceled due to ‘extreme caution’ over hog disease

The World Pork Expo, which draws an international crowd annually to the largest hog-producing state in America, will not be held this June as a precaution against the spread of African swine fever, said its sponsor, the National Pork Producers Council, on Wednesday.

At Iowa forum, Democratic presidential candidates vow to take on Big Ag

Antitrust enforcement took center stage at Saturday’s Heartland Forum in Storm Lake, Iowa, a platform for Democratic presidential hopefuls to share their visions for rural America. Nearly all of the candidates said tackling consolidation would be part of their rural agenda, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar calling it a main priority. Farmers at the forum were buoyed by the candidates’ attention to an issue that is a top priority for many rural communities that have been hollowed out by the effects of economic concentration and the powerful grip of agribusiness.(No paywall)

Senate clears way for disaster aid to agriculture

In a test vote, senators overwhelmingly supported a $13.5 billion disaster bill on Tuesday that includes flood aid for the Northern Plains and Western Corn Belt. "People back home are counting on us to get this done," said sponsor Sen. David Perdue, after speaking against proposals to boost funding for Puerto Rico beyond $600 million allotted for food stamps.

Trump approves disaster aid to Iowa for flooding

Two days after he signed a disaster proclamation for Nebraska, President Trump issued a similar declaration for Iowa, making federal assistance available in both states. Another avenue for aid could open this week — the Senate may vote on a $13.5-billion disaster relief bill that might be revised to include money for flood-hit portions of the northern Plains and the western Corn Belt.

Combative Rep. Steve King is challenged by high-ranking legislator

Randy Feenstra, a Republican leader in the Iowa Senate, announced that he will run against Rep. Steve King in the 2020 Republican congressional primary in northwestern Iowa on a promise of effective conservative leadership.