Iowa settles challenge to corporate farming law
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state has settled a lawsuit filed by a Texas hog farm that claimed a law prohibiting meat processors from owning livestock is unconstitutional.
Texas Farm, based in Perryton, Texas, filed a lawsuit April 4 in federal court in Des Moines naming Attorney General Tom Miller. Miller’s office said he signed an agreement Friday to settle the lawsuit.
The state promises not to enforce the law if Texas Farm guarantees certain rights to Iowa farmers producing the livestock. Farmers must be allowed to join a producer’s association and can file complaints to authorities about improper actions by the company.
The agreement is similar to others Miller has signed with meatpackers in recent years, including Smithfield Foods and Cargill. Texas Farm is owned by Osaka, Japan-based Nippon Meat Packers, Inc.
County: Cost of cleaning farm more than $30,000
SUMMITTVILLE, Ind. (AP) — The cost of cleaning a central Indiana farm where more than 100 animals were found dead and rotting is expected to exceed $30,000.
Madison County Administrator Dan Dykes told The Herald Bulletin the costs include veterinary tests, equipment, worker overtime, security and others. Dykes said some of this would likely be paid out of the insurance of the owners of the farm, Daniel and Carrie Ault, or from donations collected by the Animal Protection League, Inc.
Authorities found the carcasses two weeks ago on a farm near Summitville, about 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis. Investigators also found about 30 more animals that survived.
Tennessee cock fighting bill dead this session
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The state Senate sponsor of legislation to make cock fighting a felony said he believes his bill failed April 8 because of strong support for the practice in rural parts of Tennessee.
The proposal sponsored by Republican Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro received a vote of 15-8, short of the 17 votes needed to receive a majority. Under the bill, a first offense for cock fighting would have remained a misdemeanor. But a second offense would be considered a felony punishable by six years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000.
Opponents of the legislation said it didn’t specifically say that raising such chickens would not be a crime and could cause problems for farmers and others in the poultry business. Ketron said he’s not sure if he’ll try again next year.
Indiana county declares moratorium on new wind farms
TIPTON, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana county has issued a moratorium on new wind farms just weeks after it gave the go-ahead to a proposed $300 million wind farm.
Tipton County Commissioners voted April 8 to suspend acceptance of new zoning applications for wind farms through Oct. 1 or until the county’s ordinance that sets restrictions on wind farms is amended. The Kokomo Tribune reported the moratorium won’t affect zoning officials’ approval for juwi Wind’s plans for up to 94 wind turbines capable of generating up to 150 megawatts of power.
Zoning officials last month set two conditions for the development of the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm: a setback of 1,500 from property lines and development of a property value guarantee for non-participating landowners.
Iowa Senate bill would allow ATV road travel
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — People could drive their all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on some Iowa roads under a bill that cleared a Senate panel April 11. The Senate Transportation Subcommittee passed the measure to the full Senate Ways and Means Committee. It earlier passed the House in a 75-22 vote.
The bill would require those who want to drive an ATV on county and some other paved roads to register with the state Department of Transportation for a $50 fee. ATVs would not be permitted on highways except on designated crossings, though cities could allow ATVs on certain highways within their jurisdiction.
Sen. Tod Bowman (D-Maquoketa), who sponsored the bill, said the proposal came from his constituents in Jackson County, who wanted to set up ATV trails that came into contact with public roads. He said he will propose the $50 fee be given to the Road Use Tax Fund so it can be used to maintain Iowa’s road infrastructure. The fee under the House bill would go into the state general fund as a sales tax.