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The CommStock Report: Export vulnerability should force domestic demand development

Exports have become an important but unreliable component of our agriculture commodity demand. Yes, the world has to eat every day and the productivity of U.S. Agriculture is an important contributor to the items on the global menu. The amount of farmland available for crops in the U.S. has been put into production. Land utilized for agriculture purposes in the U.S. has actually been trending in reverse for some time.

One Man’s Perspective: Humbled, honored, blessed

Thursday night, while attending the Iowa Newspaper Association Conference in Des Moines, I was presented with an award which literally left me speechless a rarity I know. One of the highest honors one can receive among Iowa journalists, the Master Editor-Publisher Award recognizing up to three recipients annually for multiple decades.

Guest Commentary: Fighting human trafficking

This fall, the House and Senate held a joint interim committee to discuss the continued fight against human trafficking. The committee consisted of representatives, senators, law enforcement, county attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, the judicial branch and others working to stop this abhorrent crime.

Guest Commentary: Weigh all your options when considering relationships in recovery

Being in recovery, especially in the early stages, has its ups and downs. Dating is not necessarily a top priority for everyone, but many choose to pursue romantic relationships. Valentine’s Day tends to bring up different emotions and a longing for a relationship.

Extension Outreach: Give yourself the gift of trying something new

Happy Valentine’s Day, almost! Whether you have a special someone to celebrate with or not, here is your opportunity to do something for yourself. Give yourself the gift of trying something new or doing something different. How about trying a new recipe, cleaning out a closet or joining a new group. Set a goal, sign up for a class or scour the internet.

Lawn & Garden: Unique gifts for your valentine

Chocolates and roses are synonymous with Valentine’s Day. They are always a welcome gift but maybe this is the year you decide to give your Valentine something different.

Consider an indoor plant with heart-shaped leaves or flowers. Anthuriums are an easy-to-grow long blooming indoor plant. The red, pink or white heart-shaped flowers rise above glossy green leaves. Grow it in a brightly lit location out of direct sunlight and water when the soil is slightly dry.

The Rowley Report: Week 4 in the Iowa Senate

During the fourth week in the Senate the pace continued to build as we are fast approaching the deadline to get policy bills through subcommittee and standing committees. Three bills I am working on passed out of standing committees:

• SF 2153 regarding the Insurance Commissioner’s authority concerning insurance producers, business entity producers, and preneed sellers (Commerce).

Letter to the Editor: Summit Carbon Solutions

We got the news last week that Poet Bio refinery signed on with Summit Carbon Solutions on their mission to sequester CO2 from ethanol plants across Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, and send it via pipeline to be stored underground in North Dakota.

Letter to the Editor: Preserving the AEA

Fifty years ago, we put students before politics and the AEAs were created with the help of Sen. Chuck Grassley, to create equal opportunities for all students, so that regardless of whether you lived in a rural area or an urban area, all children and educators had equal access and support to ensure Iowa students could achieve at the fullest.

Letter to the Editor: Dismantling of the AEA

Once again Gov. Kim Reynolds has another plan to harm all schools in Iowa in this 2024 legislative session. The dismantling of the AEA will not only impact public education, but the private schools too. Iowa has overwhelming written and responded to leave the AEA’s as they are. The bill has been amended and the new revised one is equally flawed.

Pastor's Column: Life is not the same for everyone

In about 1999, my family lived up on Lake Minnewashta in Arnolds Park, which was a fun place to live! One thing it taught us as we traveled back and forth from there to Spencer daily across that flat farmland on 71, what it looks like in town is not what it looks like out on the highway between Milford and Spencer. The skies were blue, it was negative 42 (including windchill factor) and windy.

One Man’s Perspective: The legendary forecaster that is Punxsutawney Phil

Friday morning, I found myself watching coverage of the 138-year-old Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, celebration at Gobbler’s Knob — who came up with that name, explanation please — surrounding the annual spring forecast timeline from the seer of seers and prognosticators of prognosticators — a furry little groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil.

Guest Commentary: Delivering tax relief for Iowa families, farmers and businesses

I’ve long believed that cutting taxes for our families, farmers and small businesses spurs investment in our rural communities, promotes economic growth, and creates good jobs. When we let hardworking Iowans keep more of their hard-earned money, folks are encouraged to start their own enterprises, hire new employees, support businesses up and down our rural main streets, and put money aside for a rainy day.

Guest Commentary: Social media use leads to poor mental health among teens and negatively impacts learning

According to a survey released by Gallup on Oct. 13, 2023, the average U.S. teen uses social media 4.8 hours per day. Girls use social media roughly one hour more than boys per day. Teens favorite platforms are YouTube and TikTok with Instagram a distant third in popularity.

Lawn & Garden: Brighten any space with containers of summer-flowering bulbs

Add unexpected beauty to your patio, deck or balcony with summer-blooming bulbs. You may have grown elephant ears, lilies, dahlias, gladiolus and caladiums in your garden, but did you know they also thrive in containers? Some summer bulbs grow even better in pots than they do in the garden. These include the exotic-looking flowers of Abyssinian gladiolus, calla lilies, pineapple lilies and spider lilies.

Home Country

Hey, I was there to help, right? Right there in the kitchenette loaned us by the Roosevelt Hotel in Anchorage. My wife, Pam, ran the headquarters for the Iditarod Dogsled Race, and it was the second year of the race, 1974, and there I sat, a genuine Alaskan long-distance dog musher who had participated in the first race the year before.

So when a nicely dressed elderly gentleman with a thick Boston accent stopped by for coffee and questions about the race … hey, I’m there for you.

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