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Public support to raise sales tax remains high

Nine years ago, voters approved a statewide ballot referendum to amend the Iowa Constitution to create the Natural Resource and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. Support remains strong for paying for the trust fund with a sales tax increase. A recent Des Moines Register poll indicated 65 percent of Iowans support a full cent sales tax increase to pay for a combination of water quality projects and mental health services.

Rural communities could use broadband to grow

Rural Nebraskans have finally got the attention of the Legislature in regard to broadband access. Legislative Bill 549, introduced by Sen. Tom Brandt of District 32, represents an important first step in expanding broadband to all areas of Nebraska. The bill aims to provide resources for an accurate mapping of current broadband service across the state, mapping that is long overdue.

Dear USDA: Here's our thoughts on farm bill implementation

The 2018 farm bill contains several important changes for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Risk Management Agency (RMA), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and we thank Secretary Bill Northey for providing this opportunity to provide public comment on these changes. The below represents comments on farm bill implementation from the Center for Rural Affairs, but we hope that these comments are the beginning of a conversation with USDA about the 2018 farm bill rather than the end.

Flowing Forward: Looking back at Iowa’s complicated water quality history

Over the last 83 years, much has changed in Iowa. The state has weathered a Great Recession, undergone significant demographic shifts, and grappled with a changing agricultural economy. However, one discussion has remained a hot topic for what is now the better part of a century—water quality. For many decades, Iowans have worked together to identify solutions in improving water quality statewide. As the state continues to write its story on water quality, taking a look back may offer valuable insight as Iowa continues flowing forward in its mission to promote better water quality.

Learning circles lend knowledge to the next generation of landowners

Marilee Polacek and her daughter, Katie, didn’t plan on getting into agriculture, but now that they are, they want to treat their land right.

Their farm, located outside Bruno, Nebraska, on Skull Creek, has been in the Polacek family for 120 years. Since Marilee’s husband, Louie, passed away 14 years ago, Marilee and her three children have mostly rented out the land for farming.

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