PNS Daily Newscast - March 22, 2018 

New research finds stiffer prison terms do not deter drug use. Also on our nationwide rundown: We take you to a state where 4 in 10 adults have guns; and “ghost” fishing gear is killing whales and seals in oceans.

Daily Newscasts

Public News Service - IA: Rural/Farming

A dozen eggs from cage-free chickens typically cost at least a dollar more than conventional eggs. (

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Center for Food Safety and Mercy for Animals are calling on Iowa's governor to veto a controversial bill passed by the state Legislature that could make some retailers sell battery-caged eggs whether they want to or not. The law could require grocery stores to sell con

Journalistic exposÚs of cruelty or unsafe practices in Iowa's animal agriculture industry were stymied by passage of the state's

DES MOINES, Iowa - Opponents of Iowa's "ag-gag" law are awaiting a court date for a trial they hope will provide a similar result to what has happened in other states. Last week, a federal judge denied the state's motion to dismiss a pending lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ag-gag l

Cover crops grew on only 2.6 percent of Iowa's nearly 23 million acres of corn and soybeans in 2016. (crop

AMES, Iowa — A new research project is underway to explore how Iowa farmers could use cover crops as a way to prevent soil, nitrogen and phosphorus from leaving farm fields. The group, Practical Farmers of Iowa, says cover crops such as cereal rye can be planted in the fall and then terminat

Iowa now has 10,000, hog confinements compared with 722 in 2001. (

DES MOINES, Iowa — Recent application denials at the county level mean more Iowans see the need for a moratorium on new factory farms, according to Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. In 2017, Iowa's Department of Natural Resources approved 450 new or expanded hog factories. Jess Mazour

Iowa's small towns have fewer children as the U.S. population continues to gray. (

DES MOINES, Iowa – A study to determine why some small towns in Iowa wither and others thrive is under way at Iowa State University. For more than 30 years, most small Midwest communities have experienced shrinking populations, an exodus of younger people, job losses and fewer community serv

An annual winter conference provides Iowa farmers the opportunity to network and share ideas. (Practical Farmers of Iowa)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Farming is the heart of Iowa, and growers and producers from across the state have the opportunity to share ideas on how agricultural diversity can help rejuvenate rural communities. Practical Farmers of Iowa is accepting registrations for its upcoming annual conference, t

Some Iowa farms and businesses are investing in solar installations as a way to cut costs. (Vivian Evans/Flickr)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Just as Iowa's crops require sunshine to grow, clean energy advocates say so does the state's economy. Part of the solar production tax credit for large utility-scaled projects expired last year. And, given Iowa's $133 million budget shortfall, there are concerns that stat

Agriculture organizations say a new cover-crop incentive program will help improve land resiliency.<br />(USDA)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Planting cover crops now could save Iowa farmers money in the future. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship recently kicked off a three-year project aimed at increasing acres of cover crops and improving water quality in the state. Aaron Lehman, preside

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