Iowa

Iowa Lottery’s Board of Directors discusses sports betting after court ruling

Iowa Lottery Board

The five-member board that oversees the Iowa Lottery has directed lottery staff to “explore…the feasibility” of having Iowa retailers use lottery terminals for sports betting.

Sports betting has been legal in the State of Nevada for decades, but a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May overturned a federal law which had prohibited legalized sports betting in other states. On June 5, Delaware began offering full-scale sports betting in casinos along with a more limited sports lottery in retail locations.

“In the last month, we’ve heard from several of the lottery’s largest retail organizations who have said that if sports betting is legalized in Iowa, they want the option of offering it as a product in their locations,” Neubauer said today during the lottery board’s meeting.

Mary Neubauer

Scientific Games, the company that helps run Delaware’s sports lottery, also has the service contract for Iowa Lottery terminals that handle play slips and print lottery tickets.

“Given the expertise involved, we fully anticipate that our current system provider could allow the Iowa Lottery to offer sports betting,” Neubauer said. “Ultimately, the decision as to whether sports betting will be legalized in Iowa and exactly what sports betting were to look like if that were to occur here is a decision for our state’s lawmakers.”

The casino industry has been lobbying Iowa legislators for several years to pass a bill that would allow sports betting run by the state’s casinos, if the court ruled states could proceed. Mary Rathje of Marion, a member of the Iowa Lottery’s board, said Iowa Lottery retailers “need to be represented,” too, and that’s why lottery staff need to continue doing the research about how a sports lottery could work here.

Rob Porter

“The casinos, I’m sure, have already got their scope and how they want to proceed with this and we need to be able to be on the same page, if and when it’s decided,” Rathje said during today’s board meeting.

Rob Porter, the Iowa Lottery’s legal counsel, said the businesses that sell Iowa lottery products are looking for ways to boost in-store traffic as consumers shift more of their purchases online.

“One of the things that has the most interest for our retailers is if individuals had a convenient option to place legal bets, it certainly would drive traffic to their store, especially in rural locations,” Porter said, “and the potential for economic development and additional traffic in the store is something that helps them and, by extension, helps us.”

Iowa Lottery officials will not lobby legislators to approve a sports lottery option, but have been directed by the board to research, monitor and prepare for a state law that might involve the lottery in sports betting.

A sports lottery would not be a big revenue producer for the state. Lottery officials predict is would yield between $1 million and $6 million annually. Last fiscal year, the Iowa Lottery generated nearly $81 million in revenue for the state.

Republicans nominate Jeremy Davis to run for state treasurer

Jeremy Davis

A former Ames City Councilman is now the Republican challenging long-time State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald, a Democrat. Jeremy Davis was nominated this past weekend by delegates at the Iowa Republican Party’s state convention.

“When I was first contacted by Governor Reynolds to consider this, I didn’t say, ‘Yes,’ right away because I needed to think about it,” Davis said Saturday. “…I talked to friends, but more importantly, I listened to my family and I listened to my heart and I listened to God.”

Davis, who grew up on a Jones County farm, worked in Congressman Steve King’s Ames office and is now director of grassroots programs for the National Pork Producers Council. Davis has run for office twice before — an unsuccessful bid for the state senate in 2014 and, in 2009, when he won a term on the Ames City Council.

“I believe one of the most important things about being state treasurer is that we need to have 100 percent transparency when it comes to our financial operations of government,” Davis said. “I believe that it is inappropriate that the current state treasurer has utilized public funds to promote programs that he administers leading up to an election.”

Fitzgerald’s office has paid to advertise the “College Savings Iowa” program and the “Great Iowa Treasure Hunt” which seeks to connect Iowans with unclaimed property. A spokesman for Fitzgerald’s campaign says no tax dollars have been used in the advertising, because both are “self-sustaining programs.”

Fitzgerald briefly spoke to delegates at the Democratic Party’s state convention last weekend.

“Dmeocrats need to assert themselves and Iowans know it because the Republicans have been so irresponsible at all levels,” Fitzgerald said. “You know, the state budget — it’s a mess. It’s a real disaster.”

AUDIO of Fitzgerald’s speech, 3:00

Fitzgerald, who is seeking a 10th term as state treasurer, said Republican control of the statehouse has had “terrible consequences.”

Tom Miller, a Democrat who has served as the state’s attorney general for 35-and-a-half years, is also seeking reelection, but will not face a Republican opponent this fall. Libertarians nominated Marco Battaglia of Des Moines to run for attorney general. Battaglia unsuccessfully ran for governor on the Libertarian ticket on June 6th.

Popular farm conservation program is revived from hiatus

Continuous sign-up under the Conservation Reserve Program is now open in Iowa and runs through mid-August.

Greg Reisdorff, with the Farm Service Agency, says they’ve restarted the popular program after putting it on hold.

“Currently, there’s 22.7-million acres enrolled in CRP and the cap under the last Farm Bill is 24-million acres,” Reisdorff says, “so, we’re going to take some more sign-up right now.”

He says CRP has always been a popular program, moreso now.

“I think it has something to do with the commodity prices but there’s just a lot of interest right now,” Reisdorff says. “We’ve got people asking all the time about enrolling in CRP. I expect there’ll be a lot of interest when people start making some appointments to come in.”

Reisdorff says the deadline for continuous CRP sign up is tied to the Farm Bill, which is set to expire this fall on September 30th.

“They want to make sure all of the offers we get, we get them processed, we get them accepted and we get them approved before the end of September,” Reisdorff says. “The deadline for producers to sign an offer is August 17th. Then, we have to get conservation planning done by NRCS and get the contracts approved.”

Reisdorff says for any CRP contract that’s expiring this fall and is less than 15 years, enrollees can apply for a one-year extension.

For more information, contact your local county Farm Service Agency office.

One hurt as new truck ends up inside Sioux City business

This new pickup was accidentally driven into a Sioux City business.

A Sioux City man who was taking his brand new truck to be detailed today will end up requiring more than a wash and wax on the pickup.

Police Sergeant Scott Hatting says the  73-year-old man was pulling into “Hitches, Trailers and More” around 11 a.m when something went wrong. He says the man accidentally step on the gas instead of the brake as he was pulling in to park and the truck went through a window of the building and struck an employee who was working inside.

The employee was taken to the hospital as a precaution with minor injuries. Hatting says since the accident happened on private property the truck owner would not be cited. “But clearly he’s at fault. The damage to his vehicle is probably around eight thousand dollars I would guess just for paint. And the building — substantially more — just because a lot of property was damaged inside as well,” officer Hatting says.

The unidentified driver was not hurt and had just bought the 2018 pickup Tuesday.

A Republican, five Democrats and two Libertarians are running for governor

Iowa Democrats and Libertarians have a chance to choose their party’s nominee for governor when they cast their votes in next Tuesday’s primary.

There are five candidates actively campaigning for the Democratic Party’s nomination. State Senator Nate Boulton dropped out of the race last week, but his name is still listed on the ballots. Des Moines businessman Fred Hubbell is the perceived front-runner. A recent Des Moines Register Iowa Poll showed him in the lead.

Hubbell became CEO of Younkers Department stores in the mid-1980s and then served as president of the Des Moines-based insurance company his great-great-grandfather founded. Hubbell touts his support of Planned Parenthood and his work a dozen years ago in state government’s economic development agency.

“I’m a fifth generation Iowan and a life-long progressive Democrat,” Hubbell said. “…I’ve had a long career in both the private sector and the public sector, delivering results.”

John Norris of Des Moines has worked for Democrats Jesse Jackson, Leonard Boswell, Tom Harkin, John Kerry and Tom Vilsack. Norris, who owns a consulting business, has been a state and federal utility regulator.

“I believe to win this election, we have to have someone who’s experienced in managing in government…and in business, particularly, because of Kim Reynolds’ mismanagement of government is something we have to draw a distinction on.,” Norris said.

Cathy Glasson, a nurse from Coralville, helped organized a local union at the University of Iowa Hospitals. She has called for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and a state-run universal health care system.

“We have lost 11 out of the last 14 governors races in this state by staying safe in the middle,” Glasson said. “We need to stand up and fight against status-quo, establishment politics.”

Former Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Andy McGuire, a medical doctor, is the former chief operating officer of a managed care company. McGuire said she’d focus on ensuring Iowans have access to quality, affordable health care “and that they have good education, world-class education, that they have good-paying jobs with good benefits and that they have good, clean water and air.”

Ross Wilburn is a diversity officer for Iowa State University Extension. He is a former member of the city council in Iowa City and was the first African-American to be elected as mayor of Iowa City.

“I’ve got 12 years of elected experience supporting the public and public issues,” Wilburn said.

Libertarians are now an officially recognized party in Iowa, too, so Libertarians are having a statewide primary, with two candidates for governor. Marco Battaglia of Des Moines has worked as a journalist and in the financial services industry. He’s never run for office before.

“There’s this wave of people that don’t want, you know, your ‘status quo politician’ and I am definitely not that,” Battaglia said.

Jake Porter of Council Bluffs is a business consultant who’s the former executive director of the Libertarian Party of Iowa. Porter has run before, as a General Election candidate.

“In 2010 and 2014 I was the Libertarian nominee for Iowa Secretary of State,” Porter said. “Both times I got over 30,000 votes.”

Kim Reynolds is the only candidate seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for governor. Reynolds took over as Iowa’s governor just over a year ago when Terry Branstad resigned to become ambassador to China, so she is seeking election as governor for the first time.

Hear more from the candidates by clicking on the links below:

Democratic candidates speak at IDP’s Fall Gala in November, 2017

Democratic candidates appear on “Iowa Press” debate

Reynolds launches her campaign with event in Oseola

Libertarian candidates appear on “Iowa Press”

Maddie Poppe becomes first Iowan to win ‘American Idol’

Clarksville’s Maddie Poppe after winning “American Idol.” (ABC TV photo)

Clarksville’s own Maddie Poppe sang her way into history Monday on the finale of ABC’s “American Idol.”

Host Ryan Seacrest read the results of the nationwide voting. “The winner of American Idol is: Maddie Poppe. Congratulations Maddie,” Seacrest said. Poppe was one of three finalists and that was cut to two before the big annoncement. Poppe advanced with Caleb Lee Hutchinson, who told the audience in a surprise that the two are dating.

Poppe was given a guitar shortly after being named the winner. She struggled to overcome the emotion as she sang one of her original songs, “Going Going Gone.”

Poppe became the first Iowan to win the “American Idol” contest and in the process captured the attention of the country with her range and ability to perform on the show under pressure. Some 10,000 people turned out to see her at the Butler County Fairgrounds last week as she returned home after being named a finalist

Poppe wins $250,000, a performance at the Hollywood Bowl and a recording contract with Hollywood Records.

Iowa leaders call on president to end trade troubles with China

Iowa’s governor, the state agriculture secretary and the leaders of 11 state ag groups are sending a letter to President Trump, urging him to resolve the trade dispute with China.

Bill Shipley of Nodaway, president of the Iowa Soybean Association, says the trade war caused by the U.S. tariffs imposed on Chinese steel and aluminum must be ended — and soon.

“They need to get the issues resolved and work hard at it, not just sit around and twiddle their thumbs for a couple of weeks,” Shipley says. “Farming is a time-dependent industry compared to a lot of things. Find your markets. Work on them. Don’t sit around and wait for things to happen. You have to be proactive.”

Shipley says one-third of the state’s five-billion dollar soybean crop is exported to China and Iowa farmers can’t afford to lose that market.

“Iowa would be the hardest-hit state with these tariffs going into effect on ag of any state in the nation,” Shipley says. “Our income’s been cut 40 to 50% in the last six years. Can you name any other industry that’s had their income cut that much — and still, we’re out here doing it?”

Shipley says it’s taken decades to nurture a trade relationship with the Chinese and he notes, both nations benefit from the partnership.

“We worked so hard to build the Chinese market,” Shipley says. “Thirty-five years ago, they didn’t buy any soybeans. Now, 40% of their usage comes from the United States. That’s a huge change. It’s a market we need and they need us. They need soybeans to feed their livestock and feed their people.”

In the letter to the president, the Iowa group says the state’s citizens and economy depend on having a quick resolution to the trade dispute.

Good weather again helps farmers catch up with planting

Iowa farmers spent a lot of time pulling planters last week.

With at least four days of good planting weather across the state, the U.S.D.A. says 86% of the corn has now been planted. That compares to 65% last week. Lots of beans were planted too, with 58% of the expected 10 million acres of soybeans now in the ground. That compares to the 33% planted last week.

Northwest and northcentral Iowa did a lot of catching up this past week, with 70% of the corn now planted, compared to 25 percent last week. Those areas still have less than one third of their projected soybeans planted.

Cyclists to quietly ride to honor those who have been killed or injured

Bicycle rides will be taking place in at least seven Iowa cities tonight  as a tribute to cyclists who’ve been killed or seriously injured in crashes.

The “Ride of Silence” was started 16 years ago in Texas and is now an annual event in thousands of cities and towns worldwide. Roger White, organizer of the ride taking place in Cedar Falls, says participants are asked to pedal the entire route without uttering word – unless it’s to warn other cyclists about a potential hazard.

“It’s intended to be a ride of silence out of respect and in memory of those who’ve fallen,” White says. According to the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, 11 people died in bicycle crashes in Iowa in 2016. Nine of those crashes involved collisions with vehicles and in five cases, the bicyclists were struck from behind. White says fatal car-versus-bicycle crashes could possibly be eliminated if all motorists kept their focus on the road.

“You know, distracted driving is a big problem for everybody, but it’s particularly a problem for bicyclists because you come up on that bicyclist faster than you think – even if they have good lighting and visibility,” White says. “If you’re not looking, you’re not going to see their lights and bright colored clothing.” White and many other bicyclists are also calling for greater penalties in Iowa for motorists who are found at fault for hitting a cyclist.

“Right now, there are many times that the motorist is not even charged or if they’re charged with anything its failure to yield, which is a pretty minimal fine,” White says. “And that can be true even if the cyclist is killed or seriously injured.”

Rides of Silence are taking place tonight in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Charles City, Des Moines, Marshalltown, Mason City, and Sioux City. In most cases, the cyclists will be accompanied on city streets by police cars that lead and follow the riders.

Hubbell says he resolved to do more, in midst of ’81 hostage crisis

Fred Hubell

Hours before Fred Hubbell joins the other five Democrats running for governor tonight in a televised debate, Hubbell’s campaign has released a short video that reviews a traumatic event from Hubbell’s past.

In 1981, Hubbell and his wife, Charlotte, were taken hostage in an airplane that was diverted to Afghanistan, then Syria by three armed hijackers. Another passenger just a few feet from Hubbell was shot and tossed from the plane.

Hubbell talked about the experience with Radio Iowa. “My kids call me steady,” Hubbell said. “I’ve just learned that good things never last forever and bad things, if you’re thoughtful about it and think about it properly, you can get through it.”

Charlotte Hubbell was released after six days. Fred Hubbell, who was 30 years old at the time, spent a total of 13 days as a hostage before he and the remaining passengers were released.

“You inevitably spend time thinking about what you have been doing and what you could have done and what you’d do if you get off the plane, because you don’t know if you’re going to get off. You’re assuming you probably won’t,” Hubbell said. “…I kind of made the decision: ‘Look, if I get a second chance, I need to do more. I need use it — more than I used the first chance.’”

The Hubbell campaign video includes news clips about the hostage crisis and features Hubbell himself speaking about those events in 1981. Hubbell told Radio Iowa his campaign produced the 94-second video because he’s been asked about the experience as he’s campaigned around the state.

“Charlotte and I have, from the very day it happened, not wanted to make a big deal out it and not wanted to seek publicity about it. People wanted us to write a book about it many different times and we chose not to do that. I mean, that’s not kind of how we run our lives,” Hubbell said. “But, you know, I’m in a different situation now. I have to talk about my experience and my background and people want to know.”

Sitting for days on that plane helped Hubbell come to this conclusion: “If I can survive something like this, I can survive a lot of things.”

Pakistan agreed to free 55 political prisoners after the hijackers threatened to execute Fred Hubbell and two other Americans on board, bringing the 13-day hostage situation to a peaceful end.

Once Hubbell and his wife returned to the United States, friends and relatives gave the couple stacks of newspaper clippings about the hostage crisis. The Hubbells stuffed the articles in paper grocery bags. Today, those bags sit in the basement of the Hubbell’s Des Moines home. Hubbell said he’s never read any of it and doesn’t intend to.

Iowa Gaming Association ready to push for sports betting law again after federal ruling

Wes Ehrecke (file photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned a law which limited sports betting to the state of Nevada.

Iowa Gaming Association president, Wes Ehrecke, says the state’s casinos have been preparing for the possibility of legalized sports betting in anticipation of the ruling. “This ruling is great news and we’d hoped that this would have been the outcome when New Jersey had challenged the constitutionally of only allowing one state — Nevada — to have legalized sports betting for over the last two-and-half decades,” Ehrecke says.

The Iowa Gaming Association represents the 19 state-licensed casinos and pushed for legislation making sports betting legal, but it failed to pass in the last session. Ehrecke says legislators wanted the certainty of the Supreme Court ruling before moving ahead, and he says they hoped the ruling would have come four weeks ago. “But now we will deal with trying to get the education and awareness ready for the next session,” Ehrecke says.

He says they believe the more than two decades of experience in the state-licensed casinos have make them the best places to run sports betting operations. “Certainly our Racing and Gaming Commission having that expertise and integrity and standards being set,” Ehrecke says. “Having someone come into a casino to establish their account, they could do so in person to bet, but also being able to could come through secure portals to have the option bet on their phone or laptop — we believe would be the best option.”

Critics who oppose legalized sports betting say it expands gambling. But Ehrecke says millions and millions of dollars are already bet illegally each year in Iowa and other states. “This is not really an expansion of gambling, but it allows for a more legalized structured and regulated form of what’s already existed — not only in Iowa, but around the country,” according to Ehrecke.

He says casinos have a variety of options if state lawmakers make sports betting legal. “Every casino would probably do something a bit different,” Ehrecke, “but certainly having a sports betting area. Some could be on the gaming floor, some could be incorporated into their existing sports bars they have now. That will be a part of that decision that works best for each respective casino.”

Ehrecke says the first order of business is to get a sports betting law passed.

“We’re looking forward to educating and working with legislators and the media and the public to create awareness about why a legalized sports betting bill hopefully will get adopted here in the next session,” Ehrecke says. The IGA supports a bill that would allow legalized betting on pro and college sports.

Clarksville prepares party for Maddie Poppe as she advances to finals of ‘American Idol’

Maddie Poppe performing on ABC’s “American Idol.”

Iowan Maddie Poppe is among the final three on ABC’s American Idol.

The 20-year-old from Clarksville was among the top five contestants who performed live Sunday night. The Mother’s Day show included a segment with Poppe’s mom, Tonya.

“The thing I’m most proud of is not even how talented you are, but the kind of person you are,” Tonya said. “You’re humble, you’re kind to everyone, and that’s what I think makes you the most unique in this whole thing and what I’m most proud of, so keep being you.” Poppe performed the Beach Boys’ song “God Only Knows” as a tribute to her mother.

Poppe also performed “I Told You So” – a Carrie Underwood song.

Poppe learned at the end of the show she’ll be part of next week’s two-part finale. Before THAT, Poppe will be performing at the Butler County Fairgrounds in Allison. The free concert is scheduled for Tuesday night at 6:30, following a 5 p.m. parade and pep rally in downtown Clarksville in support of Poppe.

Pottwattamie County sees two fallen deputies honored

Sheriff Danker receiving the memorial flag for Deputy Burbridge.

It was an emotional weekend for the members of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Jeff Danker, some of the deputies, and the family of slain deputy Mark Burbridge attended the National Peace Officer Memorial Ceremony in Washington, D.C. Danker attended the state ceremony prior to heading to the nation’s capitol.

“It’s tough,…you know you’ve got to continue with life, but it’s tough to have all the feelings and all the emotions coming back again, “Danker says. “It’s really great that the state recognizes our fallen law enforcement officers.” Another Pottawattamie County Deputy who was killed in the line of duty in 1947 was also honored at the state ceremony. Robert McKinley’s name will be on the state memorial along with Burbridge.

“It’s great that they are able to recognize these officers that may not have been recognized at the time. They are able to recognize them now and family members can come and the state can show the appreciation for the job that they do,” according to Danker. Its been just more than one year since Burbridge died, and Danker says the department is doing well.

“There’s times when you seem like you are doing pretty good and certain things will trigger different memories of Mark and different things like that,’”Danker says. The man who killed Burbridge was able to use a handcuff key he got from another inmate to free himself. The Pottawattamie County Jail now has a new system designed to find contraband.

Sheriff Danker says they just started using it, and so far it has worked well as they try to keep contraband out of the jail. He says trying to keep contraband out is a problem for any facility, whether it be a county jail or state prison. Danker believes this system will help them with the tough job.

“It should be able to scan the prisoner coming and hopefully we’ll be able to tell if there is anything hidden on the body that the officers weren’t able to find when they brought them into the facility,” Danker explains. He says they are pioneers among the counties in using the system.

“We’re the first sheriff’s office to get that. And we are very pleased that the board of supervisors was able to provide the funding for this to be able to do that. Because it really gives us another tool to fight this contraband being brought into our facility,” Danker says. Danker was presented a flag at the state ceremony in honor of Burbridge.

Cross-country ‘Run2Heal’ trek crosses into Iowa this week

Christian Griffith

A 48-year-old who’s running across the country to raise awareness about childhood sexual abuse crossed into Iowa Wednesday. Christian Griffith says his goal is to get people to talk openly about abuse — just like they’d talk about any other disease.

“If I was to do just another marathon, nobody would be paying attention,” Griffith says, “but I chose to do something big, something that’s seemingly insurmountable because I wanted a platform to talk about something that people are just simply not talking about.”

Griffith, who is from Atlanta, Georgia, is calling his 3000 mile trek “Run2Heal” and he’s trying to raise a million dollars for a group called “Help for Children.” The group gives grants to local child abuse prevention and treatment programs.

Griffith first told someone he had been abused as a child in the fall of 2015, when he was 45 years old. Griffith began getting counseling and treatment in February of 2016 — and Griffith says he’s found talking frankly about the abuse he endured as a child is important.

“I know and understand what it feels like to isolate and hide from that and feel like your situation’s different or you’re unique and you can’t talk about it,” Griffith says, “and I want people to feel comfortable with the fact that they absolutely can talk about it and all of the fears that they have and the labels that are going to come at them when they do — none of that’s going to happen.”

Griffith began skateboarding in his teenage years and then pursued more “extreme sports” as an adult because it had a calming effect.

“It made it so it didn’t have to think about home,” Griffith says. “…I kept finding greater and greater challenges to numb the pain or kill the demons — whatever you want to call it.”

Griffith says talking openly, frankly and “loudly” about abuse is important and Griffith is making stops along the way to talk with groups about the issue. Griffith spoke with Radio Iowa shortly after he left DeWitt on Wednesday. He runs about 30 miles a day. That means it’ll take him about a week-and-a-half to run across the state.

Learn more about his journey here.

Today, he starts in Clarence and will end 33.9 miles later at Maddi B’s Pizza in Swisher. On May 11, He’ll run from Swisher to Ladora. After a rest day, he’ll leave Ladora on May 13 and stop 33.8 miles later in Grinnell.

Iowa benefiting from resurgence in beef demand

Iowa beef producers are touting their industry throughout the month of May as part of beef month activities.

The Iowa Beef Center based at Iowa State University recently conducted an economic impact study on the state’s beef industry. Center director Dan Loy says the industry has been gaining ground here in the last decade. “In the early 1980’s there was a significant loss of cattle feeding numbers in Iowa to the plains states,” Loy says, “but in the last ten years, we’ve seen a gradual steady increase of market share for cattle on feed numbers moving from the Southern Plains to the Upper Midwest.”

He says the a resurgence is due in part to the growing ethanol industry and better competitiveness with the an abundance of ethanol by-products to feed to cattle. “But then in addition to that, I think an increase demand for high quality beef is something we’ve seen nationwide. Iowa certainly backs up its reputation as a state that produces a significant number of high quality beef,” according to Loy.

Loy worked with Agricultural Economist Lee Schultz and determined the state’s beef industry is responsible for generating $6.3 billion in revenue for the state. “Its certainly important to the state of Iowa. It ranks among the major commodities, and in northwest Iowa, interestingly — Sioux and Lyon county alone …beef resents approximately a one billion dollars of economic activity there,” Loy says.

He says the industry is responsible for around 32,000 jobs. “Those are the direct jobs, or direct and indirect for both the cattle and slaughter and processing,” Loy says, “but it doesn’t include the jobs that are created by cattle marketed outside the state of Iowa. About 75 percent of the cattle are marketed outside the state of Iowa. We send a lot of cattle to Nebraska and a lot of cattle to Illinois as well.”

Loy says consumer demand for beef been on the rise again in both the domestic market, and the international export trade. He says check-off dollars spent on the “Beef, its what’s for dinner” campaign has assisted with that increase of demand for beef.

Iowa Legislature Approves $4.75 Milion for Lewis & Clark

On May 2 the Iowa Legislature approved the annual infrastructure budget known as the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF), which includes a $4.75M “federal funding advance” for the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System.  Governor Reynolds, who included the Lewis & Clark funding in her budget, has until June 4 to sign the RIIF bill.

These funds, along with the $2.25M advance approved last year, will be used to construct pipeline starting at Sioux Center and heading west.  The exact distance will not be known until bids are opened this fall, but project officials are estimating roughly six miles.  Most of the $2.25M advance approved last year is being used to design the meter building at Sioux Center and the close to 19 miles of pipeline between Sioux Center and the South Dakota side of the Big Sioux River, as well as acquire easements.

According to Executive Director Troy Larson, “These two advances are a huge shot in the arm in terms of advancing construction of this critically needed water project in northwest Iowa.  In addition, we will continue to work with the tristate congressional delegation to try to leverage these advances, as well as the advances provided by Minnesota and South Dakota, to secure increased federal funding.  We cannot thank Governor Reynolds and the Legislature enough for their strong support and leadership.”