# Land Use



Book review: The Land Remains

Larry Stone reviews Neil Hamilton’s new book The Land Remains: A Midwestern Perspective on our Past and Future.

Many of us baby boomer farm kids recall growing up in the 1950s and 60s walkin’ beans, baling hay, quail in the fencerows, and “the back 40.” But you don’t need a time machine to recapture that era, or to ponder the future of Iowa agriculture. Just read The Land Remains, by Neil D. Hamilton.

Raised on an Adams County farm, Hamilton earned forestry and law degrees before becoming director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University in Des Moines. He recently retired after 36 years. His memoir traces his growing awareness of how our agricultural policies have shaped not only the land but also the very fabric of our society.

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Iowa Democrats won't speak truth to ethanol power

The biofuels industry got a big win in the Iowa legislature this week, as the state House and Senate approved a bill requiring most gas stations in the state to dispense a higher ethanol blend known as E15 from at least half of their pumps.

All but a handful of Democratic legislators voted for the bill, and no Democrat spoke against the proposal during Senate or House floor debate.

It was the latest example of how Iowa Democratic politicians have embraced biofuels industry talking points and avoided challenging any policies seen as supporting ethanol.

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Bruce Rastetter seeks to parlay campaign cash into carbon pipelines

Emma Schmit is senior Iowa organizer with Food & Water Action.

The Republican Party of Iowa is the party of Bruce Rastetter. For years, he has amassed an enormous fortune at the public’s expense both here and abroad. And for years, he has invested in Iowa GOP candidates, in order to advance his own interests. After Governor Terry Branstad appointed him to the Iowa Board of Regents, he used that position to promote a business venture that could have displaced more than 162,000 refugee farmers in Tanzania, and to lean on a professor who discussed the ethanol industry’s impact on groundwater sources.

Rastetter knows how to call in favors. And he’s not done yet.

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Bobby Kaufmann telling new story about obscene gesture

State Representative Bobby Kaufmann gained extensive media coverage in January for raising his middle fingers at the end of a speech to a conservative audience at the Iowa capitol. At the time, Kaufmann told reporters he was trying to convey widespread frustration with federal government policies and national problems.

But the Republican lawmaker told a different story at a recent meeting with constituents. Now he is claiming his “double-finger” was directed at specific individuals who have supposedly threatened his family.

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Progressive Caucus passes resolution condemning carbon pipelines

Brian McClain chairs the Iowa Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus.

For decades now, corporate interests have had their way in Iowa and both parties have been complicit. It is time for the Iowa Democratic Party, the Party of the People, to say “enough is enough.” It is time to ask our elected officials, our candidates, our leaders which side they are on. Are they on the side of the oligarchs and corporations that seek to profit off the backs of all Iowans, or are they on the side of the people?

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Iowa Democratic Party refuses to address carbon pipelines

Emma Schmit is a member of the Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee representing the fourth district. Emma is also chair of the Calhoun County Democrats and webmaster for the Fourth District Democrats.

I’ve always been a proud rural Democrat. But it has never been an easy road in a largely Republican county. We’ve been booed in parades, yard signs have been lit on fire. Canvassers have faced a litany of threats and intimidation – from a gun being brandished to bumper stickers and spark plugs being stolen from a vehicle. While I was working the polls on Election Day 2020, my dad was busy removing my yard signs and window placards because he was worried for my safety.

Despite everything, I’ve always believed that the party was worth fighting for because the party was fighting for me, for Iowa, and for a better future. 

However, right now, the party’s governing body is failing us.

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