Weekly Column

Iowans have a unique opportunity to address rural issues with candidates

This week marks one year until the 2020 general election, in which Americans will select their next president.

For Iowans, this comes as no surprise. Candidates have been campaigning in the state for months in hopes of winning support in the Iowa caucuses. For rural Iowans specifically, the attention provides a unique opportunity to engage the candidates about issues that affect rural areas.

Programs could help veterans become next generation of producers 

With the average age of a U.S. farmer at nearly 60 years, and millions of acres expected to change hands over the next few years, military veterans have a key role to play as the nation looks for the next generation of producers.

To do so, veterans will need assistance overcoming barriers, such as accessing land and the lack of assets or cash flow to purchase land, equipment, and farm inputs.

Access to credit is an important component of most farming operations, especially for new and beginning producers.

Cost of wind projects continues steady decline 

The U.S. wind industry is booming—expanding from 1.5 gigawatts of cumulative installed capacity in 1998 to 96.4 gigawatts of installed capacity in 2018.

At the same time, the cost of these projects continues to go down. According to the newly-released 2018 Wind Market Technologies Report from the U.S. Department of Energy, the average cost of constructing a wind energy project in 1983 was $4,478 per kilowatt hour. In 2018, the cost dropped to just $1,468 per kilowatt hour.

From the desk of our executive director: Get big or get out, a redux

Asked about the plight of dairy farmers in Wisconsin, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said, “[The] big get bigger and small go out and that’s kind of what we’ve seen here...

Everyone will have to make their own decisions economically whether they can survive.”

The Center for Rural Affairs was founded in 1973. Earl Butz was Secretary of Agriculture. Butz had a similar view, “Get big or get out.”

Butz believed farm consolidation was inevitable.

Study shows Iowans want presidential candidates to address climate change

A recent survey indicates a majority of Iowans want presidential candidates to address science-related issues, specifically climate change and energy.

According to the survey, conducted between June 13 and 19 on behalf of Research!America and Science Debate, 79 percent of 802 adult Iowans who responded to the survey would like presidential candidates to have a plan addressing climate change and 87 percent want them to discuss science-related issues.

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