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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.

Sierra Club seeks state investigation of Iowa egg producers, feed mill

By Lynda Waddington | 09.07.10 | 2:47 pm

Tom Miller

Iowa’s Sierra Club affiliate wants state officials to launch a formal investigation of the two egg producers and feed mill that have been implicated in one of the nation’s largest Salmonella outbreaks.

Wallace Taylor, legal chairman for the group and a resident of Cedar Rapids, authored the organization’s letter to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, which calls out Wright County Egg, Hillandale Farms and the Quality Egg LLC feed mill by name. All of the businesses have direct connections to the Austin “Jack” DeCoster family, which has several times run afoul of state and federal agribusiness regulators.

“We believe enough information has been published in the press and on the [U.S.] Food and Drug Administration website to warrant serious penalties against Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms,” wrote Taylor.

“From all accounts, Jack DeCoster has had a troubled history with respect to following the law concerning his animal operations both in Iowa and out of state. … Over a long period of time, Mr. DeCoster has shown a wanton disregard for the law with respect to his businesses; the situation surrounding the egg recall is more of the same behavior.”

If the state decides to open an investigation against the businesses, Taylor and the Sierra Club hope that it is done “with an eye toward internal policy changes, legislative needs, and administrative rule changes.” They believe state agencies need to review existing policy and that “legislation needs to be undertaken.”

Those items singled out by the Sierra Club as in need of review are:

  1. Requiring mandatory vaccinations of chickens against salmonella
  2. Mandatory instead of voluntary recall of eggs and other food products when it is determined that they have become contaminated.
  3. Funding for regulatory staff to monitor concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) so that problems like these egg producers are not allowed to fester for years needs to be significantly increased.
  4. Monitoring of the feed mills producing feed for CAFOs needs to be implemented and enforced. Industrial-sized feed mills should require extra inspection due to the large numbers of animals eating the food.

“The bad apples, including the companies involved in the egg recall, must be stopped,” wrote Taylor.

Miller recently returned a $10,000 2005 political donation from Jack DeCoster’s son, Peter, who has served as the day-to-day manager at Wright County Egg.

Although the exact details and breadth of an ongoing federal investigation remain unclear, both Jack DeCoster and Orland Bethel, owner of record for Hillandale Farms, have been called to appear before Congress.

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