Weekly Column

Solar compromise illuminates bright future for rural Iowa

After a lengthy fight during the 2019 Iowa legislative session, a unique coalition of agriculture and environmental groups joined forces with MidAmerican Energy, the state’s largest investor-owned utility, to negotiate a consensus agreement to expand solar energy in Iowa. About a year later, the product of these conversations passed the Iowa House and Senate unanimously, and was signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds on March 12.

Census 2020: Why rural counts

By now, you have most likely received a postcard or letter in your mailbox inviting you to participate in the 2020 Census.

Set forth as an effort to count everyone in the U.S., the data collected as part of the census impacts everyone who is, or is not, counted. This includes babies and elders, citizens and non-citizens, urban and rural residents, and all other persons in between.

SB 157 undercuts local control

Local citizens deserve a chance to be fully informed and weigh in on proposed development in their communities.

Senate Bill 157, brought at the request of Gov. Noem and advanced in the Senate, erodes local control by restructuring the county zoning and appeals process in a way that removes the requirement of a public hearing for projects with special permitted use. Public hearings are one of the few avenues stakeholders have to provide comments to local officials on proposed projects, and they need to be preserved.

President’s budget proposals would hurt rural America

Details on President Trump’s 2021 budget plan were released recently and, as it has in the past, this administration continues to put forth proposals that undercut rural communities.

Among the proposed cuts we strongly oppose are those to the Conservation Stewardship Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and authorized by the farm bill. This program offers invaluable support for farmers and ranchers to build on their existing conservation efforts and the cuts would block an important path they rely on to improve their soil health and water quality.