Clay Masters

Morning Edition Host

Clay Masters joined the Iowa Public Radio newsroom as a correspondent in 2012.  He covers the statehouse when the legislature is in session, and reports on a variety of topics the rest of the year. Clay is an award-winning multi-media journalist whose radio stories have been heard on various NPR and American Public Media programs. His television documentaries have aired on PBS stations across the country. He’s also a regular contributor to NPR’s arts desk, covering indie music news.

Clay is a Nebraska native and worked for Nebraska Public Radio and Television (NET) before coming to IPR. He was one of the founding reporters of Harvest Public Media, the CPB-funded Local Journalism project covering agriculture in the Midwest.

Clay’s favorite NPR program is All Things Considered.

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
5:23 am
Tue October 9, 2012

New Amish Settlement Competes for Land in Delaware County

Members that started the Delhi Amish settlement moved to Delaware County, Iowa last year. Now, signs that read "Share the Road" are posted along rural county roads.
Clay Masters IPR

A new Amish settlement has sprung up in Delaware County, Iowa near Delhi. Members of the Amish community near Edgewood left the settlement because of economic differences they had with the Bishop  about how much time they could work off the farm. In the capital intensive agriculture industry it’s hard for anyone to work the land without a second income. As the Amish are forced to become more progressive it’s pitting them against the eroding Midsize American farms.

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Environment
4:45 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Drought's Impact on Iowa Trout Streams Could Intensify

Manchester Fish Hatchery Manager Dave Marolf holds a net with Brook and Rainbow trout. The DNR has released 15,000 trout into northeast Iowa's streams because of low stream levels.
Clay Masters IPR

The attention often centers on agriculture when a drought hits. But new Iowa Department of Natural Resources numbers show the state’s stream flows are well below normal and groundwater levels are reaching historic lows. There's a ripple effect in how the drought will affect the state’s fish.

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Education
10:14 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Iowa Educators Need More Time to Create New Teacher Evaluations

Iowa Department of Education

During the last Iowa legislative session, lawmakers failed to agree on how beef up teacher evaluations. Instead they commissioned a task force to make recommendations for next year. The task force met in Des Moines on Wednesday. 

Politics
3:28 am
Tue September 18, 2012

King, Vilsack Square off in Hampton Debate Over Voter ID Laws

The Windsor Theater hosted the Vilsack/King debate.
Clay Masters IPR

Republican Steve King and Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack met in Hampton Monday night for another debate. It was the first time the incumbent met his opponent on ground that wasn’t part of his old district.  The two differed on just about every issue including controversial Iowa voter ID laws.

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Statehouse
10:48 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Some Iowa Voters Could Be Intimidated by New Voting Laws

Controversial voter ID laws across the country are getting a lot of attention. Here in Iowa, voter rules approved by Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz are also falling under scrutiny. The new rules could keep some of Iowa’s Latinos home on Election Day. That concern was brought up before a state rulemaking panel at the capitol Tuesday. 

Politics
11:40 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Obama, Romney Push Job Numbers in Iowa

President Obama addresses a crowd of 8,000 on the University of Iowa Campus on September, 7 2012.
Clay Masters IPR

Both the Republican and Democratic national conventions are over. And both presidential candidates were in Iowa yesterday.  Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were using new jobs numbers to sway voters.

More than 8,000 people crowded outside Jessup Hall at the University of Iowa. A late afternoon rain soaked the crowd… many dressed in Hawkeye yellow and black as well as ponchos.  But the sky cleared up for Vice President Joe Biden to introduce the president.

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Politics
8:36 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Romney, Obama Differ on Wind Tax Credit in Iowa

Workers at Acciona Wind Power in West Branch, Iowa assemble a casing around the nacelle of a wind turbine.
Clay Masters IPR

President Barack Obama will be in Ames Tuesday. He’s likely to bring up the wind energy tax credit. That federal tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year. And the president’s opponent Mitt Romney opposes extending that credit. It's put Iowa’s top Republicans at odds with Governor Romney.

Iowa’s top Republicans--from Senator Chuck Grassley to Governor Terry Branstad-- want Romney to reconsider and give the tax credit a little more time.

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Election 2012
5:31 am
Sat August 18, 2012

King, Vilsack Take House Battle To The Fairground

Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa (right) flips pork chops at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines while Terry Aupperle of Wiota watches. Aupperle lives in Cass County. He can't vote for King anymore because of redistricting.
Clay Masters Iowa Public Radio

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 1:14 pm

One of the country's toughest congressional races is in Iowa between Republican Rep. Steve King and the state's former first lady, Christie Vilsack.

Iowa is losing a seat in the House after the election, due to redistricting. Now ultra-conservative King is facing a more moderate electorate as he runs in the newly redrawn 4th Congressional District against a political newcomer.

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Politics
7:51 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

At State Fair, Candidates Fight for 4th District

Republican Iowa Congressman Steve King (right) flips pork chops at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines while Terry Aupperle of Wiota watches. Aupperle lives in Cass County, he can’t vote for King anymore because of redistricting.
Clay Masters IPR

One of the country’s toughest congressional races is here in Iowa. It’s between Steve King, a Republican incumbent and the state’s former First Lady Christie Vilsack - a political newcomer. Iowa’s losing a seat in the House after the election due to redistricting. Now ultra-conservative King is facing a more moderate electorate as he runs in the newly drawn 4th district. 

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
1:32 am
Mon August 13, 2012

The Fumbles of the Farm Bill

Ed Greiman, a cattle producer and president-elect of the Iowa Cattlemen, climbs onto the front of a truck hauling silage on his ranch near Garner, IA.
Clay Masters IPR

While Iowa’s congressional candidates are campaigning at the state fair, piles of unresolved legislation wait for them back in Washington. Including the farm bill – that large piece of legislation from food stamps to crop insurance. But with 13 days left in the session, passage is looking pretty bleak.  Could there really be no farm bill this year?

Roy Pralle is an 85-year-old retired farmer from Latimer, Iowa. He spends most afternoons playing cribbage with other retired farmers at Dudley's Corner. A diner attached to a gas station in north central Iowa. 

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Statehouse
5:05 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Public and Private Sector Wage Gap Back in Spotlight

Gov. Terry Branstad (with Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, right) is asking state workers to help pay for their health insurance premiums.
Office of Governor Branstad Facebook

Starting Wednesday, Governor Terry Branstad starts paying 20 percent of his healthcare premium costs. He signed an executive order last month allowing other state workers to do the same. It has pushing the difference between private and public sector compensation back into the spotlight.

Right now Iowa is among only a handful of states where public workers don’t pay any of those costs.

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Around the Nation
7:01 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Drought Hits Farmers And Residential Landscapers

The drought is beginning to really sink its teeth into the Midwest. More than three-quarters of the nation's corn acres are in a drought zone. In Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, corn crops are burning up and its causing commodity prices to shoot up. Suburban residents are paying to water their lawns, but it isn't doing much good.

Business/Economy
5:54 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Drought sinks teeth into Iowa cities

A sign warning of a blue-green algae bloom is posted on Sandpiper beach on Saylorville Lake. The Des Moines Water Works could tap this lake for its water supply if water levels along the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers continue to decrease.
Clay Masters IPR

With drought conditions now gripping more than half the country, many farmers in Iowa are waiting to see if they’ll even have much of a crop to harvest. While farm country feels the brunt of the drought, those in the city are also being hit. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports.

Politics
12:00 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Obama focuses on economy in Cedar Rapids

President Barack Obama campaigns at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on July 10, 2012.
Clay Masters IPR

President Barack Obama made a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids Tuesday. He spent a lot of time discussing his call this week to extend the Bush-era tax cuts to the middle class. He also addressed the economy… something his presumptive GOP opponent, Mitt Romney has attacked him on. And as Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports, how he addresses the lagging economy could be what makes or breaks his reelection.  

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
1:10 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Farmers question farm bill restrictions

Marc Benson stands in one of his corn fields near Winfield, Iowa.
Clay Masters IPR

Next week the farm bill makes its way to the House. That’s the big piece of legislation that sets food and agriculture policy for the next 5 years. How does this impact the average Iowan that isn’t on the farm?  Iowa State Agriculture economist Bruce Babcock says for the most part it doesn’t… except for one thing. 

"Are the taxpayer dollars being well spent subsidizing really well managed farms, very smart farmers and very wealthy farmers?" he said.

River to River
1:15 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Western Iowa Flood Recovery

It’s been a year since the Missouri River flooded homes, farmland and businesses, and people in Western Iowa and Nebraska are still recovering and waiting for disaster aid. Host Clay Masters talks with soil expert Dr. Mahdi Al-Kaisi, and farmer Scott Olson about efforts to get the soil back to a functional state. Later, Clay talks with groups involved in flood recovery efforts who share their ideas on how to best manage the river for the future.

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
10:50 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Water Control Fight Continues Along Missouri River Part 2

Jim Redmond, with the Northwest Iowa Sierra Club, stands along the Missouri River in Sioux City, Iowa. Redmond said the river could handle the rainfall of the 2011 flood, but not when it’s cutoff from the flood plain.
Clay Masters IPR

The mighty Missouri River flows through 7 states and drains one-sixth of the water in the United States.  It’s a powerful force that gives life to the land.  But last year’s flood that lasted over 110 days has people talking… and fighting for the future. Here’s Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters, with part two of our special report.

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
12:16 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Water Control Fight Continues Along Missouri River

A row of soybeans planted in Missouri river bottom sand and silt near flood damaged grain bins in Atchison County, Missouri. (Photo by Clay Masters/Iowa Public Radio)
Clay Masters IPR

The floodwaters that ravaged homes, businesses and farms along a vast stretch of the Missouri River last year are not a distant memory. And as the difficult cleanup and recovery continues, concerns have intensified between those who want there to be more control of this river, and those who believe it should flow freely. In part one of a two-part report, Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters finds that common ground has yet to find traction.

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
1:00 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Calm before the Corn

Clay Masters IPR

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.

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Politics
6:00 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Romney visits Iowa

Presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to voters in Des Moines on May 15, 2012
Clay Masters/IPR

Iowa supporters of presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney showed up at a hotel in downtown Des Moines to get a firsthand look at the presidential candidate. Romney spent the majority of his speech talking economic issues.

Morning Edition

Weekdays at 5 a.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One
 

For more than two decades, NPR's "Morning Edition" has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports. With nearly 13 million listeners, "Morning Edition" draws public radio's largest audience.

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