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Calamity and prosperity

By Jim Duncan The autumn of 2017 was a time of contention, price relief and denial. Regional organic farming associations across the country felt betrayed by the National Organic Standards Board, which advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for relaxing organic standards to include hydroponically grown fruits and vegetables. In Des Moines, a clean water, anti-Farm Bureau city council candidate replaced a Farm Bureau […]

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Strong prices, glass ceilings and ANCIENT HISTORY

By Jim Duncan Summer was good to Iowa agriculture. Despite lower feed corn prices, beef prices stood strong on demand. Pork did, too. “The vegans were finally halted at the gates of Vienna,” joked one commodities trader. Exports helped sustain all this, especially to Japan, China and the southside of Korea. McDonalds and Wendy’s were the big winners in the […]

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A time of reawakening

By Jim Duncan Spring was most definitely a time of reawakening in Iowa this year. After decades of reaping the seeds of denial sown by a state legislature filled with Farm Bureau lackeys, federal judge Leonard Strand dismissed all Des Moines Water Works claims against drainage districts in three northwest Iowa counties. He admitted that DMWW may well have suffered an injury […]

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Disbelief and incredulity in the local food scene

By Jim Duncan   To borrow from probably the most populist novelist of all time, “It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.” Charles Dickens could have been writing about the U.S. as 2016 became 2017. The last four […]

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The Dish: Our restaurant bubble grows

By Jim Duncan   The second quarter of 2016 was deceiving, at least to people who only read headlines. Casey’s first-quarter earnings may have disappointed some analysts, but it remained healthy at more than 5 percent growth, in a national economy stuck at less than 2 percent for eight years. Meanwhile, the Ankeny chain worked […]

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