How Do You Lease Air?

The other morning I saw a photo of a wind turbine out in California. Part of the wind energy business. It got me to thinking how that endeavor is doing in Iowa. I came across an article “Wind Energy Production: Legal Issues And Related Liability Concerns For Landowners In Iowa And Across The Nation” by Roger A. McEowen. It was in the Iowa State University CALT (Center For Agricultural Law And Taxation) newsletter. Although dated June 20th 2011, the article is as pertinent today as it was five years ago.

Windmills have always been part of the our landscape. In the old days they pumped water for the traditional American farm. For me there was always something soothing about them. It meant people lived there, the crops were irrigated. They belonged on the farm on which they were located. It didn’t bother the people on the next plot of land

Hot Times In The Heartland

I was having breakfast a local diner a few days ago when I happened to overhear part of the conversation in the booth behind me. The people were going to visit relatives in Des Moines the next day and they were checking the local weather. “Holy Polar,” one person exclaimed. “Says it’s 72 right now but feels like 90.” “What’s the full prediction?” asked another. “Holy Polar,” he said again. “Says it’ll be high 92 but feel like 111.” I could identify because right now we were going through a heat wave of our own here in New York – caused as much by humidity as high temperatures. Even so, it got me to thinking. Were there ever times in the heartland where the temperature got as high as 111? Turns out there were. I looked up in Infoplease and discovered that the highest Iowa temperature ever was in Keokuk

Fireworks In The Heartland

It is July 2nd and I was reading through some of the articles on the Des Moines Register website. Came across an article by William Petroski and Brianne Pfannenstiel which caught my eye. It was examining some of the issues likely to spark debate this year in the Iowa State Legislature. Among them was a debate over holiday fireworks. I have always felt that denying fireworks on New Years Eve or July 4th is like telling a mud slide to turn around an go home. People are going to have fireworks. Last year both house passed a bill which legalize fireworks in Iowa and this year there is a movement which would permit the sale of such retail fireworks items as roman candles. Didn’t realize this – but up until now roman candles have been banned in Iowa for seventy years. Why the push now? One thing the article mentioned

Computers In The Corn Field

I was reading through some of the articles in WIRED.com and I came across an article by Kyle Wiens which caught my eye. The title was New High Tech Farm Equipment Is A Nightmare For Farmers. He describes cases where farmers are working with new high-tech tractors or combines. The equipment is top of the line and while it is working, everything is fine. But what happens if something breaks down? Mr Wiens cites an example where a minor hydraulic sensor blew in a farmer’s tractor. Consequently , the onboard computer shut down the tractor engine and the farmer in question had to wait for two days beside his shut-off machinery and unplowed field until a replacement part arrived. How computer-savvy does a farmer have to become? In this day and age, it would seem quite alot.

A Downside Of Progress

I was reading some articles on the Radio Iowa website and came across an entry by Matt Kelley. Got me to thinking. Kelley said that many farmers are facing issues involving allergies and hearing loss. We have had friends and family in Iowa for years. Unless it is a serious illness, they never even mention the word “Sick.” So what about this new development? One answer might be that this is part of the downside of progress. Farming machinery has gotten bigger and more sophisticated. In the old days a horse and plow or even a tractor were relatively quiet. But today the newer models of tractor, truck and combine, while not screechingly loud, still provide a constant (possibly negative) effect on the hearing. As for the allergies, this same machinery kicks up more dust than a horse and plow ever did. It looks as if ear plugs and sinus

The Past And The Present

Was looking through articles in Iowa State University Extension News and came across an article called What Is The Farm Problem? by Mark A. Edelman. Granted, it was written back in 1999, but much of its content struck a personal note for me. First paragraph was called The Historical Farm Problem – Overcapacity, Low Prices and Farm Income. What he describes is part of the historical background of The Northeast Quarter. He mentions that following WW1, as Europe got back on its feet, European food production began to improve and American farmers were caught with fewer markets to sell their crops. This created an agricultural depression which hit the heartland long before the advent of The Great Depression in 1929. The Hawley-Smoot Tariff of 1930 did nothing to improve matters – for it cut off both import and export possibilities. As a result, many farmers lost their land. It has