Soil conservation program draws 1,904 farmers

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship reports that 1,904 farmers installed conservation practices such as terraces this year as part of the state’s cost-share program.

The state spent $9.8 million on the projects, with farmers adding $12.8 million for a total of $22.6 million.

The projects also included management practices, grassed waterways, grade stabilization and sediment basins. Farmers installed 515 miles of terraces this year.



WorkHound joins Square One DSM

WorkHound, which uses a mobile application and computer software to help trucking companies retain and recruit drivers, has joined Square One DSM’s Accelerator Program. The company was formed when founders Max Farrell and Andrew Kirpalani met at the Gravitate co-working space in downtown Des Moines. The company was able to expand its regional footprint by participating in the three-month Straight Shot accelerator program in Omaha. The Square One accelerator program is an operation of the Greater Des Moines Partnership


ABI 2016 Taking Care of Business Conference

Mark your Schedule for the ABI 2016 Taking Care of Business Conference

June 14 – 16 | Sioux City

The 2016 Taking Care of Business Conference promises to be unlike any other business program you’ve ever attended. The 2016 Conference Committee is working hard to provide an event full of new experiences and educational opportunities that will help you grow professionally as an individual and help your company stay current in an ever-changing business climate.

Mark your calendars to join us June 14-16 in Sioux City, reserve your hotel room now and watch for more details on how to get involved!

Learn more at:



East Penn to build new plant in Oelwein


OELWEIN – East Penn Manufacturing Co. is building a new $70 million facility and bringing 350 state-incented jobs to Oelwein, a city of about 6,400 residents about 35 miles northeast of Waterloo. Officials finalized details on the plant and held a formal announcement Tuesday evening in Oelwein. In August, the Iowa Economic Development Authority authorized a financial package totaling about $3.1 million in tax credits, plus 1.75 million in direct financial assistance – half by interest-free loan and the other, with a forgivable loan. The company’s capital investment is just over $64 million, according to documents the IEDA provided.

Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

Ag Processing Inc. expansion to get even bigger

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SIOUX CITY – The scope of Ag Processing Inc. expansion at its complex near Sergeant Bluff is growing, rising to nearly $130 million through a new second piece. A year ago, plans to build a $90 million vegetable oil refinery were unveiled. At the time, the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors and the Development Authority Board  approved a package of financial incentives to help finance that project, which is under construction. At a meeting Friday in Des Moines, the IEDA board is expected to approve an additional $308,000 in incentives to support AGP’s latest project — $38 million expansion of its methyl ester Port Neal plant, just south of Sergeant Bluff.


I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award

Have you nominated an outstanding STEM teacher? The I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award presented by Kemin will honor one teacher from each of the six STEM regions for his or her contribution and dedication to STEM education in Iowa.

Each winner will receive $1,500, as well as another $1,500 to be used in the classroom. Due December 11, 2015. Click HERE to begin the process.


Simpson plans energy session Dec 3

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Simpson College plans a full-day session Dec. 3 on solving the country’s energy challenges. “Envisioning Our Energy Future: What Will It Take?” will be held in Hubbell Hall and is free and open to the public. Speakers will include energy industry representatives and environmentalists who will discuss possible changes in the energy industry to address climate change. The keynote address will feature Scott Tinker, director of the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin and producer of the documentary, “SWITCH,” which will be shown at the event. Read more

STEM working group: Make computer science classes mandatory


A working group of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council says that Iowa high schools should make completion of computer science coursework a requirement for graduation.

The recommendation is one of three overall goals of the council’s Computer Science Workgroup for the coming legislative session, the group’s co-facilitator, Mark Gruwell, said in an interview with the Technology Association of Iowa.

“Our overall goal is to expose students as much as we can to computer science, and find a way to create a computer science pathway from pre-K through college so we can get students involved in and train them to go into computer science,” Gruwell said.

The Computer Science workgroup will focus on three areas in the coming year:

  • Phase in a computer science endorsement, which would be required to teach high school computer science courses; optional but strongly encouraged to teach middle school computer science courses; and optional to teach elementary school computer science courses.
  • Ensure that the computer science endorsement may be obtained in a flexible manner while maintaining standards that provide assurance that anyone with the endorsement is competent to teach a computer science course or computer science coursework — such as through coursework, co-teaching and mentorships, competency assessments, recognized training such as Project Lead The Way, or a combination of the foregoing.
  • Require the successful completion of computer science coursework as a requirement of high school graduation.

Gruwell said that requiring a computer science component as a condition of high school graduation, which has grabbed the most attention of the three proposals, is a potential way to solidify the future of Iowa’s technology workforce.

“We’ve agreed that the earlier we can introduce students to what computer science is and educate their parents as well, the better off we are,” he said.

“If a student gets into computer science at a young age and continues on that pathway, he or she is going to be well prepared to take advanced courses at the college level or even go into industry upon completing an associate degree in computer science.”



Northey seeks money for water quality work, fight against bird flu






Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey this week asked for $10 million for water quality initiatives and $500,000 for efforts to fight bird flu. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship made the requests in its budget meeting with Gov. Terry Branstad. The water quality money would largely go to farmers who are trying new conservation practices, and to work in targeted watershed looking for measurable water quality results. The Department received $9.6 million for the current fiscal year for the Water Quality Initiative. Read more