Agricultural equipment manufacturing companies across the Midwest are downsizing their work force. After nearly one thousand layoffs last October, another round will sideline an additional thousand workers. Deere and Company has announced 910 layoffs. Black Hawk Engineering in Cedar Falls will idle 40 workers, and Unverferth Manufacturing near Shell Rock will sideline 48 employees.
Monsanto has agreed to settle some of the lawsuits brought by U.S. farmers who allege they lost money when an Oregon field was discovered to have been contaminated with an experimental genetically modified strain of wheat.
Host Ben Kieffer talks with Seattle, Washington food safety lawyer Bill Marler, who represented some of those sickened in a 2010 salmonella outbreak caused by contaminated eggs. This week a settlement was reached with Quality Egg and two of its top executives, Jack and Peter DeCoster. Marler says Jack DeCoster comes to the court with a "checkered past," that could make jail time more likely in this case.
Last week, the U.S. Government indicted Chinese government hackers on charges of stealing trade secrets, claiming that the espionage has gone too far. When it comes to intellectual property, the internet isn’t the only place the Chinese are looking for U.S. trade secrets.
The spring planting season is upon us and farmers are racing to get crops in the ground.
So yesterday morning, host Ben Kieffer hopped aboard a tractor with Jim Sladek, of JCS Family Farms in Johnson County, to get his perspective on the start of a new season and the challenges he faces, including soil erosion. Jim also demonstrated the amazing amount of technology that can be used in farming today.
Many Iowans work for two companies in recent business headlines. In a nearly 1.4 billion dollar deal, Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins announced it was buying communication system company Airinc. Rockwell Collins CEO, Kelly Ortberg, calls it the biggest deal the company has undertaken.
And the latest quarter of John Deere earnings beat analyst projections. IPR's Clay Masters talks with Sarah McCammon, who's on assignment for Marketplace this summer, about the two news-making companies. They also discuss the state's corn crop and how it compares to the cornbelt as a whole.
Southbound barges on the Mississippi River carry grain destined for world markets. Those barges regularly pass northbound tows with thousands of tons of fertilizer heading to Midwestern ports and, later, to farmers’ fields.
But this year’s drought is adding an element of uncertainty to those shipping patterns, as Mississippi River levels reach record lows. Water levels have fertilizer shippers scrambling to get their product to market before low water dries up their most important shipping route.
Corn has been good to farmers. Helping fuel a boom in the ag sector. And as this year’s record corn forecast indicates, Midwestern farmers can’t seem to plant enough of the grain. Even with concerns growing about the effectiveness of today’s high-tech genetically engineered seeds, farmers aren’t backing down.
The land is dry and the wind blows hard in Sac County, Iowa. For Darwin Bettin it’s a good day to be inside selling insurance. He also farms 500 acres of corn and soybeans in western Iowa.