News, State Feed

LANG: SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE RACE HEADED TO CONVENTION IS "NO SURPRISE, DECISION IS IN GOOD HANDS"

BROOKLYN, Iowa – Republican candidate for Iowa secretary of agriculture Craig Lang said the inability of any candidate to surpass 35 percent in Tuesday's five-way primary election is "no surprise" and he looks forward to stating his case to delegates who will select the nominee at the party's June 16 state convention. 

 

"With five candidates in the race, we all knew it would be difficult to win outright by reaching the 35-percent threshold. I'm pleased to have had broad support across the entire state and I think that makes a strong case for the nomination," said Lang, who raises dairy and beef livestock and grows grain crops on his sixth-generation family farm. "The decision will be in the hands of delegates at the state convention and Iowans can rest assured that decision is in good hands."

 

Lang, who was the first candidate to enter the race last year, said he will continue to emphasize his commitment to improving Iowa's soil health, making the state's water cleaner and re-energizing the rural economy. He will also tout the strength he would bring to the party's statewide ticket this fall. 

 

Lang thanked his wife, Mary, and four adult children for their support during the campaign. "Family is the most important of all of God's gifts.  I'm blessed to be where I am at now, and equally excited about where this journey will lead," he said. "I look forward to making my case to convention delegates that I will be the best candidate for the position this fall."


Threats of retaliatory tariffs prompted by Trump have cost Iowa pork industry $560M: report

Concerns over retaliatory tariffs from Mexico have cost Iowa pork producers roughly $560 million, the Des Moines Register reported Friday.

According to the newspaper, Iowa pork producers could take another hit if Mexico follows through on its threat to impose a 20 percent tariff on hams and pork shoulders from the U.S.

Producers in the state already face a 25 percent tariff on pork exports to China. But duties from Mexico — the largest export market for American pork by volume — could put further strain on producers. 

via thehill.com


Art Van Furniture Extends Free American Flag Exchange Program to All Midwest Locations Memorial Day Weekend, May 25 through May 28

WARREN, Mich. –  Art Van Furniture is exhibiting its patriotic spirit, inviting the public to bring their worn American Flags to any of its stores from Friday, May 25 through Monday, May 28, and trade them in for a complimentary, new 3-foot by 5-foot American flag. The Midwest’s No. 1 furniture and mattress retailer has experienced enormous customer response to its flag exchange program, collecting 4,000 used, faded flags during the program’s inaugural year in 2017. The retired Stars and Stripes are respectfully disposed of in accordance with the US Flag Code.

“The public has embraced the free flag exchange program and we are proud to continue the tradition as well as introduce it in our newest markets,” said Ron Boire, Art Van Furniture’s president and CEO.

American flags can be exchanged at all store Art Van Furniture showrooms in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri on Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Monday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For a complete review of the US Flag Code, including the proper position and manner of display for the American flag, click here. For additional information, visit artvan.com. 

About Art Van Furniture, LLC. Art Van Furniture, LLC is the Midwest's No. 1 furniture and mattress retailer with 187 stores in nine states operating under the following brands; Art Van Furniture, Art Van PureSleep, Art Van Flooring, Scott Shuptrine Interiors, Levin Furniture, Levin Mattress, Wolf Furniture and Gardiner Wolf Furniture. Founded in 1959, the company is headquartered in Warren, Mich. Art Van Furniture owned by Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. of Boston. Visit artvan.com for more information.


Wapsi, Iowa rivers now under flood watches

A Flood Warning continues for the Cedar River near Conesville until Saturday morning. Earlier today the river was at 12.2 feet and rising. Flood stage is 13 feet.  No flooding is occurring with minor flooding expected. The Cedar is expected to rise above flood stage Wednesday morning and continue rising to 14 feet Thursday night. The river will fall below flood stage Saturday morning.

via qctimes.com


Lang: President Trump Should Tell EPA's Pruitt, "You're Fired!"

BROOKLYN, Iowa – Iowa secretary of agriculture candidate Craig Lang today called for the dismissal of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, saying the former Oklahoma attorney general is too beholden to oil interests to make fair and impartial decisions about the Renewable Fuel Standard and the future of America’s ethanol production.

 

Lang, a dairy and beef farmer who raises corn, soybeans and alfalfa is a former Iowa Farm Bureau Federation president, said Pruitt’s role in encouraging President Trump to curtail proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) guidelines last year was a welcome action that spared the nation’s farmers from over-regulation. However, Pruitt’s long-time relationship with oil-industry interests has proven to be a threat to farm income, the ethanol industry and Midwest economy.

 

“Scott Pruitt was deservedly praised for his action on WOTUS, but it didn’t take an oil man to do that,” Lang said. “Sadly, Scott Pruitt has demonstrated that he’s an oil man, not by profession but in his heart and through his actions. It’s for President Trump to say, ‘Scott Pruitt, you’re fired!’”

 

The Renewable Fuel Standard requires renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuel in increasing amounts each year, reaching 36 billion gallons by 2022 in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases. Pruitt has shown an inclination to weaken the RFS in response to efforts by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and oil interests to contain compliance costs.

 

Meanwhile, Pruitt is the subject of no less than 10 open investigations into his leadership and spending decisions and ethics. Four top EPA administrators have resigned in the past week.

 

“Clearly, there are other issues that raise red flags about Mr. Pruitt’s continued service. I’m confident they will be sorted out, but the farm economy is in a precarious position. Another bad decision by Scott Pruitt could push us over the edge and, unfortunately, has a well-documented track record of bad decisions,” Lang said. “We can’t afford to leave the fate of the Midwest economy in the hands of anyone so clearly in the Big Oil’s corner that he seems determined to put its profits ahead of the nation’s best interests.”


Secretary of Agriculture Candidate Lang: Iowa Beef Month a Reminder of Industry's Economic Value, Potential

BROOKLYN, Iowa ‒ Touting his commitment to double the state’s cattle production to energize the rural economy and capitalize on growing global demand, Iowa secretary of agriculture candidate Craig Lang today joined industry advocates in celebrating May as Iowa Beef Month.

 

"Iowa Beef Month is a great reminder of the industry’s value to our state and that’s why I’m committed to doubling the beef industry,” Lang said. "The beef industry in Iowa generates over $6 billion every year while employing 19,528 people and supporting another 12,789 indirect and induced jobs.. It’s an industry that made Iowa what it is and can make our entire state so much stronger in the form of jobs, investment and tax revenues.”

 

Lang says his proposal to double beef numbers will generate billions of dollars for the Iowa economy and play a significant role in his goal to improve the state’s soil health.

 

“Healthy soil is a critical component in the effort to improve our water quality by reducing runoff. Cattle provide the necessary nutrients that are the building blocks of healthy soil,” Lang said. “Increasing beef production is a win-win-win for our economy, soil and water. I’ll be the leading advocate for that cause to seize the opportunity that’s before us.”

 

Lang believes that nations with burgeoning middle classes know how important protein is to their diet and quality of life.  "There is tremendous potential for growth when it comes to exporting Iowa beef,” he said. “As secretary of agriculture, I will be committed to finding new markets, all while strengthening existing export relationships."

 

Lang, a fifth-generation Poweshiek County family farmer, was president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation for 10 years and served on the State Board of Regents. He was the first to announce his candidacy and file his papers for Iowa secretary of agriculture.  For more information on Craig Lang and his candidacy, visit www.craiglangiowa.com.  


Iowa Senate passes opioid legislation

DES MOINES — Iowa senators voted 48-0 Monday to take measures intended to combat abuse of opioids and controlled substances that proponents say has been responsible for 335 deaths in Iowa over a 12-month period.

House File 2377 was amended by the Iowa Senate with a minor change and returned to the House for likely passage. Gov. Kim Reynolds is expected to sign it. 

via qctimes.com


Art Van Furniture Names Ronald Boire President and Chief Executive Officer

WARREN, Mich. - Art Van Furniture (“Art Van” or “the Company”), the Midwest's No. 1 furniture and mattress retailer, today announced that Ronald (“Ron”) Boire, a retail industry veteran with extensive leadership experience, will be joining the Company as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 30, 2018. Mr. Boire will be succeeding Kim Yost, who recently announced his retirement after 9 years with the Company. 

Mr. Boire comes to Art Van with over 35 years of experience in the retail industry, having previously served in senior executive positions, including President and CEO roles, at a wide variety of retail and consumer electronics companies, such as Barnes & Noble, Inc., Sony Electronics, Inc., Best Buy, Toys R Us, Inc., Brookstone, Inc., and Sears Canada, Inc. Prior to joining Art Van, he most recently served as a Principal at The Upland Group, an advisory firm specializing in the development, leadership, and execution of transformational strategies for retail and consumer product companies.

“Ron is a tremendous addition to the Art Van family,” said Kim Yost. “He is a charismatic and dynamic leader, who has an innate passion for the customer and shares our love for product and for sales. He also brings ‘war stories’ from many other sectors of retail, which will be invaluable as Art Van continues to transform the business into the leading all-home omni-channel retailer in the United States. I have the utmost confidence in Ron’s ability to lead the Art Van, Levin, and Wolf brands through the next chapter of growth and success.”

“I am very excited about the opportunity to join Art Van,” said Mr. Boire. “The furniture and mattress industry is going through a time of significant change and the Art Van portfolio of brands are uniquely positioned to capitalize on the opportunities present in this evolving landscape. I am incredibly impressed by the deep customer loyalty that has come from the decades of history in each brand’s local communities. I look forward to partnering with our highly talented team of associates and partners to build on that strong foundation, as we strive to deliver an industry-leading guest experience.”

“We thank Kim for the leadership and guidance he has provided to the Company through this year of transition, and wish him well in his retirement,” said Jeff Swenson, Managing Director of Thomas H. Lee Partners. “Looking ahead, we are thrilled with Ron’s decision to join Art Van. His deep expertise in retail management and extensive experience leading transformational and omni-channel strategies focused on delivering best-in-class customer experiences – both online and in stores – will be incredibly valuable as we build on a long and storied history of growth for the Art Van, Levin, and Wolf brands.” 

About Ronald Boire

Mr. Boire comes to Art Van with over 35 years of experience in the retail industry, having most recently served as a Principal at The Upland Group, where he advised companies on the leadership and process improvement required to implement and fund transformation in a rapidly changing industry. Prior to The Upland Group, Mr. Boire served as Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc., the world’s largest retail bookseller. He has also held senior executive positions, including President and CEO roles, at a number of retail and consumer electronics companies, such as Sears Canada, Inc., Brookstone, Inc., Toys R Us, Inc., Best Buy, and Sony Electronics, Inc. Mr. Boire has served as a director of various retail industry organizations, including the Retail Council of Canada and the Retail Industry Leaders Association. In addition to his business activities, Mr. Boire is a co-founder of the Ferguson Noonan Foundation, a 501(c)3 charity focused on educating under-privileged children, and has been involved with several other philanthropic organizations, including as a Board Member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Additionally, Mr. Boire was a recipient of the Anti-Defamation League’s S. David Feir International Humanitarian Award. Mr. Boire has MBA’s from Columbia University and the London Business School. 

About Art Van Furniture, LLC

Art Van Furniture, LLC is the Midwest's No. 1 furniture and mattress retailer with 185 stores in nine states operating under the following brands: Art Van Furniture, Art Van PureSleep, Art Van Flooring, Scott Shuptrine Interiors, Levin Furniture, Wolf Furniture and Gardiner Wolf Furniture. Founded in 1959, the Company is headquartered in Warren, Mich. Visit artvan.com for more information. 

About Levin Furniture

Founded in 1902, Levin Furniture has 35 furniture and mattress showrooms and clearance centers in Northeastern Ohio and Southwestern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit levinfurniture.com. 

About Wolf Furniture

Wolf Furniture was founded in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1902, and purchased Maryland-based Gardiners Furniture in 2015. The company has 18 furniture showrooms in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. For more information, visit wolffurniture.com. 

About Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P.

Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. (“THL”) is a premier private equity firm investing in middle market growth companies, headquartered in North America, exclusively in four industry sectors: Healthcare, Business & Financial Services, Consumer & Retail, and Media, Information Services & Technology. Using the firm's deep domain expertise and the internal operating capabilities of its Strategic Resource Group, THL seeks to create deal sourcing advantages, and to accelerate growth and improve operations in its portfolio companies in partnership with management teams.  Since its founding in 1974, THL has raised over $22 billion of equity capital, acquired over 140 portfolio companies and completed over 360 add-on acquisitions which collectively represent a combined enterprise value at the time of acquisition of over $200 billion.


LANG ANNOUNCES STATEWIDE STEERING COMMITTEE WITH “SUPER-SIX AG LEADERSHIP” TEAM

DES MOINES – Republican candidate for Iowa secretary of agriculture Craig Lang announced his statewide steering committee today, saying its six members from across the state represent “my vision of creating to profitable future for rural Iowa.”

 

“When I began my campaign last December, I pledged to bring Iowans together to improve the state’s soil health, water quality and rural economy.  Today marks another step in fulfilling that promise to Iowans,” Lang said at a Statehouse news conference. “I’m humbled and honored to have the support of what I call the ‘super-six ag leadership team.’ Each one of them is known and respected for his and her accomplishments, vision and effort to make our state better today, tomorrow and far into the future.”

 

Lang’s statewide steering committee includes:

 

·         Steve Berger, a Wellman grain and livestock farmer who has built a conservation legacy throughout the state for his extensive efforts to promote the use of cover crops and no-till practices to promote soil health. Berger, who plants more than 2,000 acres of cover crops the protect the soil during the off-season, holds cover-cropping programs for farmers across the country who are seeking to reduce their use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. “Craig is a successful family farmer, entrepreneur and businessman who can oversee and manage a department while providing leadership during challenging times in agriculture.  He has the experience of leading a large organization as the Iowa Farm Bureau and recognizes the challenges that go with bringing ideas and people together for a common goal,” Berger said.

 

·         Former legislator Sandy Greiner, a fifth-generation family farmer. During her 20 years in the Iowa General Assembly, Greiner served on the Senate Agriculture Committee and chaired the House Environmental Protection Committee and the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. “I’ve been watching Craig Lang’s career for 20 years.  He’s been a strong advocate for all of agriculture,” Greiner said.

 

·         Mark Leonard, a Holstein businessman and livestock producer. Leonard provides financial planning and financing options for agricultural and commercial ventures. An Iowa Ag Development Authority board member, he has owned and operated Leonard Limousin Inc., specializing in merchandising live animals and breeding, since 1971.   His company is one of the nation’s oldest Limousin cattle breeding firms with customers in more than 40 states and 23 countries. "One of the big reasons I decided to support Craig is that we have never had an activist secretary of agriculture.  Craig is a man who is not afraid to express his opinions and I know he will never shirk from the difficult discussions and decisions involved in being Iowa's secretary of agriculture," Leonard said.

 

·         Mike Olson of Pella. Olson, who is a community banker with Lincoln Savings Bank in Grinnell, is active in government outreach for the Iowa Bankers Association and represents Iowa on the American Bankers Association's Banker Advocacy and Grassroots Committee in Washington, D.C.  Olson is a retired lieutenant colonel who served in the Iowa Army National Guard for 29 years. “I have known Craig for over 20 years and he is certainly a leader in agriculture.  His deep commitment to the success of small towns and rural areas of Iowa is admirable and worthy of support,” Olson said.

 

·         Mark Peterson, a Stanton farmer and president of Practical Farmers of Iowa. Mark and his wife Melanie farm about 500 acres and have been experimenting for several years with different farming methods to retain nutrients in their soil and protect nearby water quality by planting cover crops and implementing no-till practices.I met Craig for the first time in January and was immediately impressed with his passion for soil health and water quality. As we discussed further and I came to realize Craig's enthusiasm for rural Iowa revitalization and development, I knew Craig would be the right candidate for Iowa secretary of agriculture. He is the one that I support and all Iowans can support,” Peterson said.

 

·         Bryan Sievers, a fifth-generation Scott County farmer and former state legislator. Sievers is a leader on his own farm when it comes to renewable energy.  Sievers owns and manages AgriReNew, which focuses on producing renewable energy and electricity from biomass, crop residues, animal waste, and agricultural processing waste. "Craig Lang will work tirelessly to represent Iowa's farmers and rural communities,” Sievers said. “The leadership he's demonstrated and the commitment Craig's made to agriculture while focusing on enhancing our natural resources, including the air we breathe, the land we farm, and the water we drink represent the qualities we need from the individual who will serve as Iowa's next secretary of agriculture."

 

Lang pledged to “embrace and support technologies” that reduce and eliminate the need for fossil fuels.  that provide solutions to dealing with the eventuality of a world without fossil fuels, as well as providing cleaner burning energy for the environment. He said guidance from Berger and Peterson will be invaluable in reaching his goal for farmers to voluntarily increase their cover crop acreage from the current 1 million to 5 million within five years and to protect and regenerate the state’s 29 million acres of farmland.

 

Lang said Greiner’s experience will add to his effectiveness as an advocate for Iowa farmers as he works with legislators and various local, state and federal decision makers to craft policies and legislation. “Mark Leonard’s experience will be instrumental in helping us achieve my goal of doubling our state’s bovine industry as a way to improve soil health and bring jobs and prosperity to rural Iowa,” he said.

 

Lang noted that the state’s healthiest local economies are anchored by strong community banks. He will rely on guidance from Olson “as we seek to provide more support for young farmers and rural entrepreneur networks and lead the discussion about the importance of rural investment capital and strategic rural ventures.”

 

“I've surrounded myself with these great people, who are among the brightest minds in our state, for a simple reason: we're all in this together as Iowans.  We face great challenges and we have tremendous opportunities.  We will succeed together or fail together,” Lang said. “I'm an optimist and a realist ‒ and I know we will succeed if we chart the right course and work together to achieve our common goal of healthy soil, improved water quality and a robust rural economy.”

 

For more information on Lang and his candidacy, visit www.craiglangiowa.com.


LANG: PRESIDENT TRUMP SHOULD STAND FIRM ON RENEWABLE FUELS STANDARD TO PROTECT FARM INCOME, JOBS

BROOKLYN, Iowa – How President Trump reacts to a reported White House meeting with renewable fuels industry representatives today could be the make-or-break difference for many farmers, bio-fuels producers and the Midwest economy, Republican candidate for Iowa secretary of agriculture Craig Lang said.

“Agriculture was already reeling from the one-two punch of a low commodity prices and high production costs. China’s proposed tariffs on soybeans, pork, beefs and other farm products in recent days has been another body blow that we’ve had to absorb,” Lang said. “The last thing we need is for federal officials to give in to Big Oil and fail to uphold the promises made in the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuel in increasing amounts each year, reaching 36 billion gallons by 2022 in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases. The White House meeting, which was first reported by DTN/The Progressive Farmer on Friday, was prompted by concerns that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt will weaken the mandate in response to efforts by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and oil interests to contain RFS compliance costs.

“We’re not asking for anything new or outrageous. We’re only asking that the federal government honor the policy and promises that were the basis for investments in ethanol production here in Iowa and across the country. A failure to uphold those promises would further depress corn prices,” said Lang, a former Farm Bureau president. “When President Trump meets with renewable fuels advocates today, he needs to understand that they are the voice for thousands of farmers and agribusiness people, especially in the Midwest, whose very livelihood depends on him keeping those promises.”

For more information on Lang and his candidacy, visit www.craiglangiowa.com.