Evans: The population problem Iowa should discuss

Through the years, the Iowa Legislature is the place where Iowans gather to debate the biggest issues and challenges facing our state. It has been this way for 175 years. 

The 2021 session is days from adjournment, but there has been precious little time spent discussing one of the thorniest problems confronting this state in decades or looking for solutions. The issue is the quality of our water. Our lakes, streams and rivers are so polluted with agricultural runoff that experts urge people, for health reasons, to not swim in many lakes and to avoid eating fish caught in certain rivers. While most lawmakers dodge this issue, a University of Iowa researcher has become a no-nonsense voice on the problem and its solutions. Chris Jones is a scientist at the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research. Water quality is his area of expertise.

Poultry Growers, Caught Between Strict Rules And Financial Risk, Lean Heavily On Government-Backed Loans

After 20 years, Mississippi chicken farmer Kevin Kemp is getting out of the chicken business. He raised millions of pounds of chicken since 1996, alongside his father and brother. But Kemp said even though he’s done well as a poultry grower, raising chickens is “not all it’s cracked up to be.”

“The chicken industry has been good to a lot of people around here,” Kemp said. “It just got to the point where I didn’t enjoy raising chickens, because you had to put up with too much crap from the integrator.”

By “integrator,” Kemp means the big poultry companies, which deliver chickens to farmers as chicks, and pick them up six to eight weeks later as full-grown birds, ready to be slaughtered and sent to restaurants and grocery stores. Kemp has experienced the immense control poultry companies put on growers – how they care for the birds, the way payments are determined, even dictating when growers replace equipment.