Using a high tunnel allows Rob Faux to extend his growing season, but it was also in the path of the spray in 2012 when an airplane accidentally dumped pesticides on his organic crops. The crops had to be destroyed and the fields and the produce in them couldn’t be re-certified as organic for three years, in 2015. This photo was taken April 29, 2016.

Sidebar: Organic Certification And Pesticide Drift

Organic farm certification is automatically reinstated after three years without additional chemical impacts. The three-year window is the same as the requirement that land, upon initial organic certification, must go through a three-year period in which no non-organic products are applied.

A corn field in Jasper County, Iowa is shown circa 1939.

Iowa History: State Fair of 1868: Gloomy, But Motivational

Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is a former history teacher, newspaper editor, and public television project manager. She is the author of four non-fiction books for young people. Double Victory was featured on C-SPAN’s “Book TV” and The Industrial Revolution for Kids was selected for “Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People.” Her most recent book, Women in Blue traces the evolution of women in policing. Visit her website at: www.cherylmullenbachink.com

The Iowa State Fair of 1868, the 15th annual, was a disappointment in some ways.

The Iowa Capitol is shown May 31, 2016.

News Quiz: Relationship between Iowa and China

Gov. Terry Branstad said in a summer IowaWatch interview that Iowa needs to maintain trade relationships with China and get good business deals with partners in that country. Iowa has built significant economic and diplomatic relationships with China since the 1980s. Find out in this news quiz how much you know about Iowa-Chinese relations.

Chelsea Keenan (front left) and Lee Hermiston (right) are shown at their desks in  The Gazette's Cedar Rapids office on July 29, 2016

Inside The Reporter’s Notebook: Gazette Series Humanizes, Raises Awareness Of Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction is growing nationwide, and eastern Iowa is no exception with more than 61 non-fatal overdoses and 21 deaths in 2015. Cedar Rapids Gazette healthcare reporter Chelsea Keenan and public safety reporter Lee Hermiston spoke with IowaWatch intern Brittany Robb about their stories that formed part of an in-depth look at the epidemic in The Gazette’s June 2016 series, “Heroin’s Hold In Iowa.”

Eugene Ely, photo circa 1911

Iowa History: Iowa’s World-Known Air King

“Eugene Ely Fatally Injured in Airship Accident.” In July 1910 newspaper headlines announced the death of the Iowa native. However, it turned out the reports were greatly exaggerated.