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‘Ag-Gag’ Laws On The Rise

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Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting report: Idaho recently became the first state to have both a modern-day farm protection law and an agriculture disparagement, or “veggie libel,” law. Iowa led the nation in 2012 when it passed its own so-called "ag-gag" law. Continue Reading →

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Net Neutrality Ruling Creates Wide Band Of Uncertainty About Internet Access

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This story is reprinted with permission from The Courier (Waterloo-Cedar Falls). Courier reporter Mike Anderson is a former IowaWatch reporter.CEDAR FALLS -- Depending on who you ask, the free and open structure of the Internet may be on the verge of a massive transformation. It’s been nearly a month since a federal court struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, a set of principles that prohibited Internet service providers from tampering with the traffic flowing over their networks. Net neutrality advocates are waiting for the next shoe to drop, while Internet service providers in Iowa and across the country continue to insist it won’t. “We’re doing what we did yesterday,” said Tom Larsen, the group vice president of legal affairs for Mediacom. Continue Reading →

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Expect No Farm Safety Legislation This Year In Iowa

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Support from Iowa lawmakers for stricter farm safety regulation does not exist in the new legislative session. This is despite agriculture being Iowa’s deadliest occupation and limited Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforcement and coverage. No one is pushing for state remedies, or calling for a federal government they distrust to improve farm safety to step in. Moreover, Gov. Terry Branstad says he would not support a new or more aggressive program for agricultural safety. “I think that would be a detriment to agriculture,” Branstad told IowaWatch in an interview at the opening of the session. Continue Reading →

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Poor Housing, Wage Cheats Still Plague Midwest Migrant Farm Workers

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A lack of enforcement or inspections and legal loopholes are leaving migrant workers in Iowa vulnerable, cheated of wages and living in substandard housing. The problems include wage theft, broken contracts, substandard housing, working arrangement violations and Agricultural Workers Protection Act violations.

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Fairwarning.org Report: Stunning Loss for Lead Paint Makers in California Lawsuit Includes ConAgra

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A California state court ruling against the lead paint industry broke the industry’s perfect record of defending suits by public agencies seeking to extract money for removal of flaking lead paint from older homes and apartments. Omaha-based ConAgra Grocery Products Co. is one of three defendants in the case, which resulted in a huge ruling involving cash. Continue Reading →

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Farm Safety Experts: New Technologies That Improve Safety Are Here To Stay

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New technology from drones to tractor rollover detection are aimed at keeping farmers out of dangerous situations. Drones, modified from their current military use, could be flying soon over Iowa corn fields, allowing farmers to check on growth from comfort and safety.
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Video Interview: Central Iowa Farmer Says Need For Work Safety Has To Meet Farmers’ Needs

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Chris Petersen, of Clear Lake, Iowa, has farmed and raised hogs for years. As a board member of the Iowa Farmers' Union and Iowa's Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, I-CASH, he has worked to raise awareness of farm safety issues. He also helps bring a farmer's perspective to developers of agricultural safety equipment. “You know the simple of it is, I guess, farmers at a certain time of the year have one-track minds. And it's getting that crop in and getting that crop out. Continue Reading →

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Farm Safety Trainers: Consistent Advice For Preventing Grain Bin Fatalities Is Lacking

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Grain bins, a common sight for anyone traveling through Iowa and other corn belt states, are a source of concern for agriculture safety specialists. Lack of research means specialists are unable to provide consistent advice to farmers about working in the storage bins.
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Matter Of Seconds: Getting Safety Information To The Fields

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Video report: Farm safety expert in Iowa hopes to reach more farmers by traveling to fields and events with a large trailer packed with safety equipment. The trailer will give farmers a chance to see the equipment for themselves and learn best practices. Continue Reading →

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