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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Court ruling allows conditional haying of CRP land

By Dien Judge | 07.25.08 | 12:43 pm

A court injunction that had blocked the release of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for haying and grazing has been lifted.

Photo: usgs.gov

A ruling issued Thursday by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour placed some limits on this year’s release of CRP, however, and both sides of the battle seem to be happy with the results of the court case.

As reported last week on the Iowa Independent, the Seattle court case involved a lawsuit filed by the National Wildlife Federation. In a telephone interview Thursday with the Iowa Independent, NWF spokesman Duane Hovorka said his organization is pleased with the ruling.

“We think that the ruling agrees with our position that the USDA did not, in this case, do the adequate review that they needed to do,” said Hovorka. “And we’re also pleased that we can recognize and take care of the farmers and ranchers who relied on the USDA and went out and applied for the program and spent money. We recognize that it caused some hardship for those folks, the farmers and ranchers who in good faith applied for the program, and we’re pleased that we’re not causing them further harm.”

The lawsuit claimed the U.S. Department of Agriculture failed to complete the proper environmental impact studies before it announced a plan to release CRP acres nationwide for haying and grazing under the Critical Feed Use program. The USDA announced in May that it would allow a Critical Feed Use release of all CRP acres for haying and grazing after the primary nesting season for birds is completed. In Iowa, that release date falls on Aug. 2.

Nationwide, the USDA’s plan was intended to bring relief to livestock producers who have been suffering under high costs of feed and forage caused by high demand and poor weather conditions. An estimated 18 million tons of hay would be made available through the Critical Feed Use release of CRP acres.

Under the conditions of the court ruling, any farmer who applied and was already approved for the Critical Feed Use program will be allowed to continue with their plans. Additionally, any farmer who had submitted an application to the USDA and was awaiting approval will also be allowed to continue with the plans, but there will be some limits to the time frame for haying and grazing.

In the future, however, the USDA will not be allowed to release CRP for the Critical Feed Use program without completing the lengthy environmental impact assessment process.

“Basically, the USDA can’t do this kind of thing in the future without doing the environmental impact study that federal law requires,” said Hovorka. “I think the implication for the future is that before the USDA makes major decisions like this that are going to have environmental impacts, they need to do the studies that are required under federal law before they make the decision.”

Despite the fact that future releases of CRP through the Critical Feed Use program will be slowed down by environmental impact studies,  the ruling was trumpeted as a “major win for farmers and ranchers” by the American Farm Bureau Federation. In a statement released Thursday, AFBF president Bob Stallman said that the court recognized that the program will be of great benefit to farmers and ranchers in dealing with the increased costs of feeding livestock.

Another agricultural organization, the National Farmers Union, also viewed as positive. In a press release Thursday, NFU president Tom Buis called the ruling a “fair resolution to a difficult situation.”

CRP acres in most of Iowa’s counties have already been released for grazing this year as part of a different emergency release that was announced by the USDA earlier this summer.

The court ruling will affect Iowa farmers by allowing haying of CRP acres for those who had made plans and prepared to do so, and it will also indirectly affect livestock farmers by bringing much-needed livestock feed into the markets nationwide.

Comments

  • dean

    How can this ruling be considered anyting but unfair and unjust. The judge did not take into consideration the fact many ranchers like myself in the northern part of the country cannot hay crp until the nesting period ends which would be july 15th. Because we could not hay the crp until then we had no reason to be in the office filing the paperwork before July 8th. We were not ready to sign up by the 8th of july, but we were also told by our local FSA office that the office would NOT take any applications after word of the lawsuit by the NWF was filed.

    As far as impact on the wildlife in this country, the crp needs to be hayed, grazed or burned at least every 5 years. By allowing the old vegitation to build up it destroys the root system and chokes any new growth. This I know from our own use of rotational grazing. I would also guess that most of the members of the national Wildlife federation will not be out feeding these birds this winter when the snow is 2 or 3 feet deep in the CRP. The birds that are here then will be in eating with my cattle. Perhaps i should sue the wildlife federation for the birds they are protecting eating the feed that is meant for my cattle.

  • dean

    How can this ruling be considered anyting but unfair and unjust. The judge did not take into consideration the fact many ranchers like myself in the northern part of the country cannot hay crp until the nesting period ends which would be july 15th. Because we could not hay the crp until then we had no reason to be in the office filing the paperwork before July 8th. We were not ready to sign up by the 8th of july, but we were also told by our local FSA office that the office would NOT take any applications after word of the lawsuit by the NWF was filed.

    As far as impact on the wildlife in this country, the crp needs to be hayed, grazed or burned at least every 5 years. By allowing the old vegitation to build up it destroys the root system and chokes any new growth. This I know from our own use of rotational grazing. I would also guess that most of the members of the national Wildlife federation will not be out feeding these birds this winter when the snow is 2 or 3 feet deep in the CRP. The birds that are here then will be in eating with my cattle. Perhaps i should sue the wildlife federation for the birds they are protecting eating the feed that is meant for my cattle.

  • Len

    Not sure what good it did the wildlike folks to stop releasing CRP, since most acres are controlled by farmers, I am not sure where they are going to hunt , as most farmers now are not going to allow the bird lovers to hunt, since they seem to love birds and hate beef.

    Just like the brainless politicians, that are pro abortion, but against horse slaughter. They are for murdering babies, but against slaughtering excess horse inventory, that could be used to feed the third world countries that are starving. Ask any WWII POW and they were damn glad to get horse meat.

  • Len

    Not sure what good it did the wildlike folks to stop releasing CRP, since most acres are controlled by farmers, I am not sure where they are going to hunt , as most farmers now are not going to allow the bird lovers to hunt, since they seem to love birds and hate beef.

    Just like the brainless politicians, that are pro abortion, but against horse slaughter. They are for murdering babies, but against slaughtering excess horse inventory, that could be used to feed the third world countries that are starving. Ask any WWII POW and they were damn glad to get horse meat.

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