Earl Canfield moves an oats bin to the grinder on his farm.

When Being A Family Farm Doesn’t Mean Squat In The Government’s Eyes

The U.S. Department of Agriculture sets an industry definition for family farms. But that definition doesn’t take acreage size into consideration and can include operations where the family may not own the land, or even farm it. It defines what a family farm is for a consistent technical term in research and policy, which includes farm subsidies.

Large animal feeding operations on the rise
Several states see shifts in animal production since 2011

The number of new concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have increased across the U.S. over the past six years - bringing the total operations just under 20,000, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency. From 2011 to 2017, the United States saw more than 1,400 new large-scale concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) established. That’s up 7.6 percent. Here's a look at the issue in maps and charts.

Iowa’s Topsoil In Sloped Areas Eroding Far Faster Than Desired

Growing up, Ann Wolf didn’t frequent her grandfather’s eastern Iowa farm. In reality, nobody in her family ever lived on the 296 acres. But over the past 17 years, Wolf’s relationship with the land has changed. No longer is the Miles, Iowa, farm simply a land investment. Read the story on IowaWatch.org
Now, she sees the land as a part of nature, and makes decisions about her farm accordingly.

Severity of algae in Iowa lakes is on the rise

That paint-like scum that covers some Iowa lakes every summer isn’t just gross and smelly. People, pets, and livestock coming into contact with or ingesting toxins produced by the algae are at risk to symptoms including skin rashes, gastrointestinal issues and, in high doses, liver failure. The toxin, called microcystin, is a liver toxin produced by some strains of cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae.

Comments pour in as EPA water rule discussion comes to a close

The EPA’s proposed “Waters of the United States” rule would add to the Clean Water Act by defining whether a water body is – or is not – protected by the act. The public has until Oct. 20 to formally comment on the proposed rule. So far, the rule has received nearly 6,000 comments. Hundreds of others have chosen to discuss the rule through social media, as well.

EPA roiling the U.S. waters

In March, the EPA issued a proposed rule to define what is considered a water body under its jurisdiction. Since then, farmers throughout the Midwest have expressed concern over the rule. Some have even claimed it could drastically change the way farmers run their businesses.