Tama County farmers take pride in growing safe and nutritious food for the world. Iowa has nearly 10 percent of the world's richest farmland, and this gives farmer's the responsibility of protecting the land and using it efficiently to feed the growing world.
Food Check-Out Week this year is February 21-27. This gives us a great opportunity to reflect on the many healthy food options provided by farmers and appreciate the safety, wholesomeness and affordability of food purchased in Iowa. This year the theme is "Stretching Your Grocery Dollar With Healthy, Nutritious Food." As more and more people become further removed from the farm, Iowa farmers believe it's important for consumer's to understand how we work each day to deliver safe, wholesome food to the tables while caring for our families our livestock and land, and our communities.
All Iowans can visit www.farmersfeedingus.org and register five times each day for a chance to win free groceries for a year (value max. $5000.00). Last day to enter is April 11, 2010. Farmers Feed Us will then select two winners from the registrations received. This program is being supported by Iowa's Farmer's and the groups that represent them. These include Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa Pork Producers Association and the Midwest Dairy Association.
Today's consumers are considering their wallets and their waistlines when they shop for their groceries. Farmer's allow the ability to obtain a wide variety of produce. Tama County Farm Bureau will take this time to pay for groceries in one of the Tama County grocery stores during Food Check-Out Week Feb. 21-27.
Highway D65 was scheduled in 2005 for completion in 2006. Highway D65 is supporting two major grain terminals with only the access, unfortunately, is embargoed Highway D65. Estimated grain hauling is 9 million bushels per year (9,000 semi-truck loads). These trucks are forced to use alternative and secondary roads. Traer, Reinbeck, Gladbrook, Lincoln fire departments, school buses, emergency vehicles, plus any other vehicles aware of this road are forced to use secondary roads.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck shuttle buses are required to drive on hard-surface roads only, the county has forced the shuttle buses to drive on secondary roads. If a shuttle bus has an accident on a secondary road and there are students injured or killed you are toying with very serious liability.
I have spoken with an attorney concerning this manner. I would insist you salt and sand the secondary roads the shuttle buses are forced to drive on.
Our plan calls for the total restoration of Highway D65 to be completed in 2011. Using resurfacing estimates of Highway E69 and E43, which would amount to 4 million dollars to be paid in 2010 & 2011. I would recommend E43 be put on hold for several years.
Estimated cost for D65 is 5 1/2 million. This project would begin in 2010 and be completed in 2011. This would leave an unpaid balance of 1 1/2 million dollars to be paid in 2012. At this point exercise the bond that I have provided. At 1% interest amounting to $15,00 for a year. We are trying to fund this project with no extra cost to the taxpayer.
At Monday's Tama Co. Supervisors meeting a gentleman petitioning for Highway E43, stating that potholes were very bad and causing damage to vehicles. I would agree with that statement. I drove Highway E43 several weeks ago and observed six potholes on the south lane and four potholes on the north lane. In my opinion eight pails of asphalt would take care of the problem at a minimal cost to taxpayers at $150 to $250.
Highway D65 has more serious problems as there are speed bumps 20 feet wide and four to five inches high, with up to 300 in one mile of the highway.
Grundy County does not mow any secondary road ditches . They believe this is strictly cosmetic and I agree. Tama County mows all secondary road ditches at a cost of $35,000-$45,000 a year. This would pay the $15,000 interest on the one-year bond and have funds left over.
I have presented a workable plan for the construction of Highway D65. Obviously the Tama Co. Engineer and Tama Co. Board of Supervisors don't agree. Perhaps it will take a change of county government to fulfill this project in 2011. 472 petitioners agree with this proposal. Other concerned people include Superintendents of G-R and North Tama Schools; Lincoln, Gladbrook, Reinbeck and Traer fire chiefs; Gladbrook-Lincoln and Traer Ambulance crews stating this road is in need of immediate repair.
In a sneaky eleventh-hour move, state legislators quickly moved a bill that would allow factory farms to continue polluting our water by putting their untreated liquid manure on snow or frozen ground. And just when we thought they would take a year off from bought-and-paid-for attempts to weaken environmental protections.
I'm sick and tired of fancy lobbyists calling the shots at the Statehouse. Shame on any legislators who support HF 2324 - what should be renamed the "Excuse to Pollute" bill.
I've lived, farmed and will soon retire in Iowa. I had always hoped my grandchildren would grow up here and make their homes here. But when our elected officials put polluters over people, it makes me wonder why. I'll keep fighting for a cleaner Iowa for the sake of my two grandchildren and future generations. I just hope they stand up for each other - and unlike some of our legislators - put people first.
Sincerely, Gary A. Larsen Exira, Iowa.