Saturday, September 20, 2008

Secretary Shafer Spoke

USDA Secretary Shafer was on the phone with the cabinet before coming in to speak to our NASDA group last evening. We all knew it was about the crazy week the financials and big companies had this week. We got no scoop on the news, so we will wait and see if there is any direct news coming from the cabinet and the President. Like we will know if that is what they were talking about…

The Secretary covered the usual items, with special emphasis on the Farm Bill and its implementation. No real news from the speech – if there was I missed it. The Secretary’s phone did ring twice during the speech. He assured us it was not the President or the Cabinet.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wind in Iowa

This last Wednesday I got to sit in on a nice presentation by Tom Wind (with input from others) in regard to the wind energy business in Iowa and the issues around electrical transmission. What an eye opener. Iowa continues to surge in wind production and will take back the #3 position from MN at the next accounting. In fact, the state will nearly double the wind generating capacity this year. Much more is queued up requesting space on the grid. As Tom stated, we are in a wonderful position of having wind generating capacity and the load requirements for using the electricity produced from that wind. Iowa is in a great position now and in a great position to grow the amount of electricity produced from wind energy into the future.

Yesterday five Midwest states announced a transmission planning initiative. This will be an effort to look at regional electric transmission investment and cost sharing. Governor Culver and Iowa is a part of this group. The effort sounds to me like a good initiative.

NASDA Friday Afternoon

While some of the NASDA folks are off hunting, canoeing or golfing many folks are getting caught up on emails and phone calls. After morning task force meetings, the focus was on enjoying ND and an officer’s meeting. Some of us felt the need to “enjoy” getting caught up with some of our work!

USDA Secretary Ed Shafer will address the NASDA group late this afternoon. This will be a homecoming for him as he lives in ND and served as Governor in Bismarck. We look forward to hearing him speak – and maybe getting to ask some questions.

NASDA 2008

I am in Bismarck, ND waiting for the start of a meeting at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). Karey and I drove up yesterday from Des Moines. It is 10 hours plus any stops for the travel. We got to see lots of country. Some hay getting made, some previously harvested wheat and some crops finishing up. Wind was blowing fairly strong, but we saw more wind turbines blowing in the first 2 hours (in Iowa!) than we did the rest of the way.

It will be good to get caught up with some of the folks at the meeting. We got a start at that last night for supper, after supper and this morning during breakfast.