Weekly Column

Proposed legislation a positive step forward in addressing climate change in rural areas

A recently introduced piece of legislation into the U.S. Senate is a positive step forward in addressing climate change in rural areas. 

The Growing Climate Solutions Act, intended to establish a certification program for private parties who work with producers to receive payments for carbon sequestration, comes at a critical time for the agriculture industry and the environment. 

Rural Iowans asked for views on flooding, water quality

Too many times, rural Iowans have been the farmers, homeowners, and small business owners who waded the high flood waters to salvage what they could after record-breaking floods. 

They have been the ones who thought twice before enjoying recreational activities on Iowa’s lakes and rivers because of concerns about the quality of the water splashing along the banks. 

Wind energy continues to benefit rural America 

In 2019, the U.S. reached a landmark in its wind energy capacity when 100 gigawatts — or enough to provide electricity for about 32 million homes — were produced, according to a report from the American Wind Energy Association. 
 
Reaching that milestone came after the industry experienced significant expansion. Wind energy made up about 30 percent of all new utility-scale generating capacity from 2008 to 2019, making it the top source of renewable electricity in the country.
 

Grappling with COVID-19, Congress can leverage solar energy

Wiping out the last five years of solar job growth, the COVID-19 pandemic has reset total employment in the U.S. solar industry back to 2014 levels.

As recently as 2019, the solar industry employed 250,000 Americans in all 50 states. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the novel coronavirus has decimated growth in the industry, which will now employ 188,000 Americans through June 2020. This new reality is a 38 percent drop from the 302,000 originally forecasted. Meanwhile, during the second quarter of 2020 (April, May, and June), the country lost out on 3 gigawatts of solar energy deployment, the equivalent of powering 288,000 American homes.

Building on-farm resiliency reduces stress in our changing climate

Planting and emergence progress for both corn and soybeans are currently ahead of the five-year average across the Midwest. 

But, still fresh in farmers’ minds is the 2019 planting season, which was severely delayed due to record-breaking precipitation that led to flooded fields and excess soil moisture. 

According to USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), on June 2, 2019, corn-producing states had completed only 67 percent of planting. In addition, NASS reported the soybean-producing states had only completed 39 percent. This was compared to 96 percent for corn and 79 percent for soybeans, on average.

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