Thursday, November 30, 2006

Who needs TV?

Today at coffee with a group of active and retired farmers we got to talking about TV. I found it quite interesting, as we only have 3 channels here at the farm, and they barely come in due to only having rabbit ears for antenna.

These guys grew up either without TV or in the early years of B&W. Now they have dish and HDTV plasma sets.

I posit that one can exist just fine without paying $50/month+ for digital TV. What do you get for the extra money? Just more commercials to flip through...

At the hotel the last weekend for the family get-together, I went back to my old ways when we had cable and started flip-flip-flipping through the channels, looking for something to waste my time on. More time than not I was going past commericals or Spanish language programs than actually finding something worthwhile.

Oh sure, the History Channel comes to mind as something that I like on dish or cable. But is it worth spending so much a month just for that channel? I'm not much of a sports fan, and I can keep up with the news pretty well on my XM radio. So what's the point?

As I just mentioned, I have XM. IMHO, its worth the $15/month or so for it. So is my DSL Internet service for $35/month. So, I guess we're already spending that $50/month in lieu of dish/cable. However, at least with Internet I'm getting more out of it than sitting around gathering dust on the couch. I can at least pretend to be a world-class writer on this blog! :)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Shopping etiquette

As mentioned in the previous post, we left The South of Iowa for The Central of Iowa this weekend. We stopped at the Menard's store on the east side to get A) a halogen work light, B) a mailbox for the neighbor to replace the one I hit with my planter earlier this year, and C) a fire extinguisher.

Because of this, I remember why I hate shopping, especially on weekends right before Christmas.

Some people, for whatever reason, must unplug their common sense module when shopping during the holiday season. They become some of the dumbest, self-absorbed, unaware forms of living creatures (Paris Hilton-like sheep come to mind). Here are a few examples:

1) When pushing a cart and eyeing something across the aisle, shoppers tend to drift across lanes toward their discovery, unaware that on-coming traffic will be disrupted and be forced to take evasive measures. - Bob's Ettiquette: Turn across the lane after looking out for on-coming traffic and go to the item you are interested in, standing as close as you can to it with your cart out of the way of other shoppers.

2) Some folks find it useful to walk two, maybe three wide. Walking slowly while doing so helps to cause others to go out of their way around. The slow wide walkers are usually ignorant of this. Bob's Ettiquette: Form a single file and walk directly to what you are looking for, then gather around said item and discuss it there, out of the way of others.

3) When leaving the big box store, there will usually be someone wanting your parking spot, and wait in the parking lane for you to leave. However, they'll leave you about 5 feet to get out, causing you to contort your neck to make sure you don't tap his GMC Tahoe's front bumper. Bob's Ettiquette: Give the backer-outer as much room as you can, dumb-ass.

Really folks, it's not that difficult. Common sense isn't dead, but it must be on life support in this day and age.

It makes living in a small town much more enjoyable. Parking is no more than 20 feet away, the store owners know your name, and traffic congestion is when you have to wait more than 10 seconds at a stop sign.

Empty slogans

This weekend the family and I went to Newton for a family get-together (it as half way for all of us, so it worked well). On the way I noticed a few bumper stickers on cars on the Interstate, and it got me thinking...

"The Power of Pride", with red, white, and blue colors running through it. Huh? What power does "pride" have? Having a Christian belief system, to me "pride" is something you should NOT have, as it leads one to have a very inflated sense of oneself. Now, one can be glad or satisfied with what they have, and that has very often been considered having "pride" in what you have or what you do, but its an innapropriate use of the term. Pride is not something desirable, and saying that there is "Power" in pride might be true, but it sure isn't anything you'd want to broadcast.

I wonder if the people with these bumper stickers would keep them if they said "Power of Gay Pride"?

"Until They All Come Home"...sorry bub, but they are not all going to come home. As long as we believe America is the World's Police Force, every member of the Armed Forces will not be darkening the doorstep of America anytime soon. They'll be in Tajikistan, Diego Garcia, Rammstein AFB, and many other far flung parts of the globe for a long time to come.

"Arrogance and Ignorance Do Not Make a Good Foreign Policy"...I like this one, but I'd call it "Arrogance and Ignorance Do Not Make a Good Accountant", referring to my previous accountant who didn't understand our farm's transition to a "C" corporation and nearly cost us $10K the first year before we found a competent financial advisor.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Got corn?

According to recent statements from Robert Wisner, ag economist from Iowa State, if all the proposed ethanol plants in Iowa come on line as planned, we Iowa farmers will need to grow 8 million more acres of corn in 2008 to supply the ethanol plants and livestock.

8 million more acres of corn in Iowa for 2008? We can shift some soybean acres to corn, but not a great amount. Some will come out of CRP, but I can't see enough A) yield) and B) acres coming from there to make a big dent.

As I have a seed production background, I started thinking about the need for seed corn in 2008. At 2.75 acres per unit (about 50 lbs, or 80,000 kernels) of seed corn, about 2.9 million units of extra seed corn would need to be produced?

Ever heard of Garst, Asgrow, Mycogen, or Golden Harvest seed companies? Take any two of them, add them together, and you have about 2.9 million unit production per year.

Pioneer has lost a lot of market share in the last few years to companies such as listed above. So, they have extra capacity to make up the extra demand...that is if you wanted to plant Pioneer.

Anyway, probably not all of the ethanol plants will be built, so the demand for corn may not be as high as Wisner predicts. However, the demand will still be higher than in the past, and we may not shift as many corn acres as needed. Iowa becomes a net IMPORTER of corn? Could happen...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Love is in the air...if love is anhydrous ammonia

Yes folks, its that time of the year when you start seeing big white tubes being pulled around in fields. Anhydrous ammonia, or NH3 if you are chemically inclined, is what's in those tanks. It is injected into the soil to provide nitrogen for next year's corn crop.

One tank can hold around 2 tons of NH3, and a ton is selling for about $415. A tank's worth of NH3 can be applied to between 20 and 27 acres, depending on the desired rate. Safety goggles and rubber gloves are a must when handling this stuff - when connecting or disconnecting the hoses there might be a little NH3 left, which will fall out as a liquid and start to boil immediately. However, it is very cold, and you oftentimes can feel it through the rubber gloves.

I was hauling corn to the elevator in town today. It just so happens that the pit where I dump was down wind from the NH3 filing platform. On the tanks being filled a vapor valve is cracked open to show when the tank is full. Of course, ammonia vapor gets released, and every so often you'd get a nice sinus cleaning whiff. Think of your household ammonia products and multiply it by 10, and you get the idea.

So, why do farmers use this dangerous stuff? It's lower cost than most nitrogen alternatives, and it is a concentrated form of nitrogen, meaning less needs to be hauled to the field for the same rate per acre. Why are they putting it on about 7 months before the crop will need it? The NH3 will immobilize in the cold soil over the winter and will (mostly) be there in the spring and summer.

A friend of mine was lucky the other day - he was going from one field to another with his NH3 applicator and a tank of NH3 behind. All of a sudden, the NH3 valve opened and ammonia came shooting out the knives, causing a cloud of ammonia. He found that his rate controller, turned on, had a pinched wire that caused the valve to open. From then on he made sure he turned off the controller and closed the tank valve when transporting. Luckily no one was hurt.

I use NH3, and will have some custom applied this fall. I plan on putting more this next spring, as I feel more of it will be available to the corn plant than later. However, a lot of my acres (especially no-till acres) will receive a liquid by-product from the Anjimoto Heartland lysine plant in Eddyville, IA. A custom applicator puts on 200 gallons/acre of this stuff, which looks like hot chocolate cake batter. I've had good success with it in the past, and is cost effective with NH3.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Losing our post office?

We here in The South of Iowa are in jeopardy of losing our US post office, with our mail service being merged with a neighboring town. Sound ridiculous? Here's how...

This summer, a rather foul odor started permeating through the buildings on the north side of Main St (where the post office is located at). Upon further investigation, it was found that a fuel oil tank used to heat one building had leaked. The fuel drained into the basement of the nearby buildings, soaking into the floor trusses.

The next building over was used as a residence. The owner of that property has since moved out - she had just remodeled the place. It shares a common basement with the post office, and further away, the library. The odors permeating from the basement caused concern with the postal workers, such that the issue has been brought to the attention of higher ups in the postal system.

Air samples have been taken in the post office, and if found to be unsafe, would force the post office to temporarily relocate. If a temporary location cannot be found in town, our mail service could be permanently moved to another town.

I'm also concerned that if the odor is unsafe, it would essentially condemn the block of buildings located there, built about 100 years ago. The lower levels include the library, post office, and residence; the upper levels are meeting rooms for the IOOF and Masons. Would the buildings need to be destroyed to effectively clean up the mess? I hope not.

My question about the whole issue is this: Why hasn't the person who's fuel oil tank leaked in the first place come forward and taken responsibility? The DNR has not assessed any penalty to him; I'm sure if he ran some manure down a dry ditch and killed a couple of frogs he'd be in big trouble, but allowing fuel oil to permeate a residence and US government office's basement must not be a big deal to the DNR...

Monday, November 13, 2006

What I believe in


From the looks of it, many of you would consider me to a conservative with a slight libertarian ting. For the most part, you're right - I'm not a liberal by any means, more liberatarian if anything, but I'm far more conservative than anything else. What does this mean? Here's a few points I stand on:
  • First and foremost, I believe Jesus Christ came to Earth and died for our sins so that we as falliable humans may come closer to God and be forgiven of our transgressions against Him.
  • You can worship/not worship whoever/whatever you like - or not. That's OK with me. However, I think atheists are complete fools for actively rejecting a higher diety. But that's just my opinion.
  • I think it would be a good thing if gun safety training was given to junior high kids, and marksmanship taught to high schoolers.
  • Private property rights are one of the foundations of our country and should not be messed with.
  • I am pro-life. That means abortion should be outlawed, and the state should not have a death penalty. Taking another's life is not permitted unless in self-defense or in war, regardless if you are a doctor performing a "procedure" or the government.
  • Our tax system should be inverted - more tax receipts should go to the county level and less to the federal level. However, I'm OK with getting rid of most taxes anyway.
  • When a politician votes to send troops to war, his/her children/nearest relatives of service age should be sent first.
  • Marijuana should be decriminalized (lower penalties). Those pushing meth and heroin should have their kneecaps shot off with a .45.
  • We should reinstate the county farm program. Destitutes should be put to work earning their keep as wards of the county.
  • Free trade is a nice concept, and efficiency and low prices are a good thing, but our country needs to protect its own vital industries, such as manufacturing and food production.
  • A person may be a homosexual, but no special rights should be afforded him/her. Civil unions are acceptable, as they are considered to be a contract between two adults.
  • Term limits should be imposed on all legislative and Congressional representatives.
  • You can't have the First Amendment without the Second protecting it.

That's it for now. Blast away!

Further explanation on the politicians' relatives going to war: The basic concept is that the politician who is voting for war should know full well the consequences of such war, including losing loved ones. I'm not advocating a conscripted army; I'm saying that chickenhawks like Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc should seriously understand the loss of loved ones before sending them out to the battlefield. While these guys did not vote for the war, they were the ones advocating it. Instead of staying insulated in their cushy offices in DC, they should know the realities of war, including potential loss of family members.

More 1930's vs now

Iowa State's GIS website now has some images from 1930's Decatur Co, where my parents' farm is located at. Here's a 1930's image of a farm they own, and the 2005 image:

1930's aerial photo

2005 aerial photo

As I've asked before - what's missing in the 1930's image that is present in 2005? Trees!!! In addition, the concept and use of waterways, contour planting, and terraces. All things that were foreign in the 1930's.

Grampa and Dad started renting this land in 1952 (their house was the farmstead in the extreme upper left corner across the road). Then, the area in the south-east part of the farm, now occupied by trees, was open, and they pastured cows on it. It steadily grew up into white oak and hickory, with some walnuts in the lower areas.

In fact, that SE 40 acres is no longer part of the farm - Dad recently sold it to a person wanting recreation land, i.e. deer and turkey hunting. Dad sold it for 3.5 times what he bought it for from the original owners in 1992.

While the original farmstead is no longer there (we pushed the house in when a cow fell through the floorboards into the cellar), the soil is better protected today than when it was farmed "organically" in the 1930's. More wildlife exists today than in the 1930's - whitetail deer, pheasants, quail, rabbits, hawks - even while using those "evil" pesticides that are supposed to be polluting our drinking water.

In fact, pesticides such as glyphosate (Roundup) allow us to directly plant into the soil, not requiring any tillage that would cause erosion. Furthermore, GMO seed like Roundup Ready corn and soybeans means we can have high yielding crops without tillage, something our 1930's counterparts didn't have.

I'm looking forward to seeing Wayne County on this website soon. It might help me confirm while I'm seeing poor yields in certain parts of my rented farms where I suspect Mr 1930's Farmer plowed up and down the hill, losing the topsoil into the ditch.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A good cash crop for the southern states...

As Slater in Dazed and Confused said about George Washington growing hemp at Mt Vernon...

Huh? Why the heck are you talking about marijuana, Bob?

Here's the story - I'm considering growing grain sorghum as a double crop after wheat next year. I posted the question to an ag discussion group, whereby I got a reply from a farmer in SE Iowa who successfully did this. I asked him the name of the seed company, he gave it to me, and I did a search on it in Google.

However, right below the RIGHT seed company listing was another company with a very similar address (.net vs .com) that was selling marijuana seeds out of British Columbia. I'm not posting the address for obvious reasons.

For the price of a bag of seed corn with all the seed traits (Roundup ready, rootworm protected, cornborer protected, insecticide treated) ~ $190/bag, one can buy 10 seeds of various marijuana plants. Heck, they've got the names, growing characteristics, size, expected yields, etc just like a seed corn catalog! A bag of seed corn has 80,000 kernels, and can cover 2.75 acres. I haven't a clue how many MJ plants could go on an acre, but the cost would probably be in the hundred thousands! I assume one would use the 10 seeds as starter plants, then multiply them as need be.

Now, I know very little about marijuana - even while at Iowa State, as I was going through Resident Assistant training, I didn't know what MJ smelled like, so the Ames police had to burn some "fake" MJ so we all could identify it. I can't point to a period of time when I was knowingly around pot - I guess I lived a sheltered life...

But, being a businessman, I'd have to say this: If the government were to legalize MJ, the price of those seeds would drop on a magnitude of 100 or more. Heck, even if the government put a "sin" tax on the pot, the refeerheads would still get their pot cheaper than now, grower facilities could expand and become part of the corporate agriculture landscape, and the government coffers would overflow from this new income. A win-win-win situation...

...except for late night fast food workers who have to deal with more doobie brothers having the munchies.

Let me say this: I am not for the legalization of ALL currently illegal drugs. Heroin, LSD, meth, cocaine should stay illegal. However, I would be open to looking into decriminalizing FIRST industrial hemp (very low THC), then possibly marijuana. I think some frank discussion needs to take place between those who want to grow and use the product and law enforcement. Yes, the government will want to get its tentacles into legalization as much as possible, and that may have to be the trade-off.

I think a healthy, realistic debate needs to take place on legalization of hemp and marijuana. Jay and Silent Bob, or Rev Green, need not apply, however.

BTW, Dazed and Confused is an awesome movie. It and Office Space are two of my favorites...Smokey and the Bandit ranks right up there, too.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Secretary of Ag race breakdown

Wow is all I can say. This race changed a lot in the last week. If I was Bill Northey I'd be calling Clel Baudler right now and thanking him for his press release. I think the animal cruelty story probably turned a lot of votes.

Instead of listing the counties that voted for Northey, here are the ones that voted for O'Brien, according to the Secretary of State's website (note: unofficial results at this time):

Black Hawk Butler Cerro Gordo
Chickasaw Clinton Des Moines
Dubuque Howard Jackson
Jefferson Johnson Lee
Muscatine Polk Poweshiek
Scott Story Tama
Wapello Winneshiek

I see two clusters, plus some major cities. The first cluster is in NE Iowa: Butler, Chickasaw, Howard, Jackson, Winneshiek. The other cluster is in SE Iowa: Des Moines, Lee, Muscatine, Wapello (yellow-dog Democrats, maybe?).

The cities are Black Hawk (Waterloo), Cerro Gordo (Mason City), Clinton (Clinton), Dubuque (Dubuque), Johnson (Iowa City), Polk (Des Moines), Scott (Davenport), Story (Ames), and then Poweshiek and Tama being close by to large cities. Jefferson, occupied by Fairfield, is occupied heavily by the Maharishi group.

There were some close calls: Allamakee in NE Iowa went Northey by 4 votes, Buchanan went Northey by 34 votes, Fayette to Northey by 29 votes - again, in that NE Iowa cluster. A big blow out for O'Brien was Sioux Co, which went 10,148 to 1519 in favor of Northey. Sioux also happens to have a very large livestock concentration, including hogs, beef, dairy, and poultry. Livestock is very important to Sioux residents, and O'Brien's focus on local control probably didn't win many points there.

Now that the race is over, Bill can get down to being chief administrator of such mundane things like horse and dog shows, weights and measures, and feed analysis. Such is the majority of the job of the SOA.

Harvest for the neighbor

While the Democrats were being elected into power yesterday, a group of 17 men from the community got together and harvested the remaining corn for my neighbor. Her husband Jerry was killed in a rollover accident in July. A few of us had harvested the soybeans here and there, and corn at another farm, but this was about 150 acres in two fields at her home place, 1/2 mile from me.

We had (7) combines (JD 9750, 9500, 9400, two 7720's, Case 2188, and an Intl. 1460) and (6) tractors and grain carts (3 Parkers and 3 Brents). We had a 13" auger set up to the bins with a semi truck/trailer as a receiving bin. The grain cart drivers would take the corn right from the field to the semi across the road at the farmstead. It probably took us 3 hours to harvest the 150 acres.

Here are some pictures:

You can see in the distance straight in front another combine - we were on the same rows. I chickened out.

Starting up again after lunch. You can see smoke coming out of the 7720 on the far left.

Manuevering around.

Another great shot - the green Parker cart on the left is mine, with Dad driving the tractor.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Anarchist nutjob

OK, this has nothing to do with The South of Iowa, but I thought I'd bring it up as an example of the nutjobs that share our oxygen/nitrogen supply.

His name is John Zerzan, and if you are reading this while siting in your comfortable chair in some sort of shelter with a cloth-like substance on your back, he is against you.

Zerzan is what you call an "anarcho-primitivist". Basically put, the "manifesto" of such people is that the shift from hunter-gatherer society to agriculture years ago has caused much destruction, oppression, and over all bad stuff. They claim that prior to civilization, "there generally existed ample leisure time, considerable gender autonomy and equality, a non-destructive approach to the natural world, the absence of organized violence, no mediating or formal institutions, and strong health and robusticity."

Think Ted Kaczynski, and you get an insight into this nutjob.

When one considers the motives of a person, usually you just have to "follow the money". Unfortunately, there's no monetary benefit to anarcho-primitivism; you can't get rich trading grey rocks for black ones.

So, what is the motivation of Zerzan? The opportunity to have a struggle in his life by which he can be identified with. As usual of the Left, having a struggle is noble and provides ego-building social capital. He is recognized for his "alternative" views, and as such, he is reverred and celebrated.

My guess is that Zerzan couldn't survive more than a day in the wilderness if he really put his anarcho-primitivist beliefs into action. A bear would make quick work of him.

I'm not defending all-out consumerism in this diatribe; it is quite possible and easy to overindulge in what our civilization has to offer, to immerse oneself to the point of suffocation. However, we must recognize the benefits created by working together in a capitalist marketplace. Sure, it may not be perfect, but we know nothing on Earth can be.

Zerzan can go do his anarcho-primitivism thing on his own turf; if it works, we'll all want to shed our IPods and Starbucks coffee and join him in a hunt of wild elk with sticks and rocks. Until then, I'll stick with the current civilization, good or bad, that we've been dealt.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A response from an O'Brien supporter

Rob Sand, the O'Brien campaign manager, sent me this:

I have to respond to the vicious attacks on Denise O'Brien's family from the Republican Party. I am a farmer in Cass County, Denise's home county, and I've known Denise O'Brien for over 35 years, including in 1987 when she was fighting for family farms in Iowa and Washington D.C.

I've also known Larry Harris for years and believe him when he says this is the way it was.
The accusation that Larry willfully harmed livestock is just one of many distortions by her opponents to take away her lead. Please spread the truth about this situation that happened almost twenty years ago.

Here are the facts:

In 1987, like so many farmers during the farm crisis, Denise and Larry were working off the farm to make ends meet. Larry hired a neighbor to take care of some steers and he moved them to that hired hand's farm.

When Larry learned that the steers were being mistreated, he fired the farmer and took the steers into his own care. The steers were not in Larry's care when the reported neglect took place.

These attacks on Denise's family just shows the Republican Party has no shame. This is one of the many negative attacks waged by Denise's opponents in the last few weeks.

Her campaign depends on supporters like you to make sure that her vision of clean water, local control, and safe and healthy communities is not drowned by her opponent's mudslinging. Please continue spreading the word about Denise's message to help her win on Tuesday.

Connie Russell
Anita, Iowa

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Denise is silent, just like her dead calves

Still no posting on Denise O'Brien's website of an official announcement/explanation of the recent revelation that her husband, Larry Harris, was charged with Intentional Cruelty to Animals in 1987 by letting a group of steers starve, including 3 die.

Rob Sand, campaign manager for the O'Brien campaign: Are you unable to use basic HTML? Get your side of the story out. Tell us why it was OK for these calves to die 19 years ago and how that makes Denise better enabled to be SOA?

To the folks that think I'm just following the party line: I switched party affiliations in June to vote for both Ed Fallon and Denise O'Brien in the primaries. I serve on a board with Denise (although I haven't seen her at board meetings since the campaign started). I've worked at another organization (now-defunct PrairieFire) where she was on the board of directors. Up until this point I have had nothing but respect for Denise and Larry.

However, the charge and her response (or lack thereof) has caused me to loose respect for her. And out of respect for the position of Secretary of Agriculture of Iowa, I believe it would be wise for her to drop out of this race. She will not garner respect in her office because of this history, and it could tarnish the SOA position for years.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Denise's dead calves

While combining beans today I heard on WHO-1040's Big Show about a statement made by Rep. Clell Baudler about a 1987 incident where Larry Harris, Denise O'Brien's husband, was convicted of Cruelty to Animals, a simple misdemenor. Here's a link to the statement made by Baudler and the complaint and check paid to Cass Co by Harris in 1987.

I checked O'Brien's website, and at this point it does not have posted the statement made to the Big Show as an explanation about the incident. The statement claimed that while the steers were owned by Harris and O'Brien, they were being housed at another farm. Because a bridge was out between Harris' farm and the farm where steers were at, he hired another person to watch and take care of the calves for him. Supposedly, this hired person did not do his job and was subsequently fired by Harris. O'Brien was not available to help during the cattle starvation due to being involved in farm crisis politics.

There is no excuse for these cattle dying and being starved. I don't care if the calves were two counties away; they are living creatures, as well as sizeable investments, and no bridge being out should keep anyone away from checking on them. Where was the feed for these calves? This incident took place over the summer - the time of the year when hay and pasture would have been available.

To be honest, this shows POOR leadership on Denise's part - instead of being at home helping take care of her own livestock (and way to generate income), she was off in Des Moines or wherever else trying to save everyone else's farms but her own.

Anyone who lets animals die on their watch should not be allowed near them again, and sure as hell should not be allowed to be in charge of Iowa's agriculture. It doesn't make any difference if Harris was the one named in the charge - he and O'Brien were partners in this operation.

In the response on The Big Show to the incident, O'Brien's campaign manager (a non-Iowan) tried to change the tune, saying that Bill Northey's $1 million investment in Brazillian farmland is MUCH worse than a few calves dying, and that Denise was not involved. Unfortunately, this is showing the bad side of Denise. Attacking a political opponent while offering a non-apology apology seems to be a common theme in the Democratic party these day.

Having livestock die on you is not unusual in farming - baby pigs get laid on, calves are stillborn, cows die of old age, etc. But, when you simply neglect your duties and your livestock starve and die, it cannot be construed as anything but intentional. Death by starvation takes a long time; it is cruel, and at anytime it can be stopped by providing water and feed. Apparantly, Harris and O'Brien didn't even lift a finger to go drive around the down bridge and check on their cattle for 4 months. What does this tell you?

Some might say that digging up a 19 year old incident is dirty, and what happened then should be left behind. I might agree if the O'Brien had gotten a speeding ticket in 1987. But having livestock die because of your intentional neglect and then running for Secretary of Agriculture is like someone running for State Auditor that has a larceny conviction on their record. It just isn't the thing to have in your background for the position you are trying to win.

O'Brien needs to drop out of this race immediately. If she is elected as Secretary of Agriculture with this in her background, she will damage Iowa agriculture's credibility. She will not be trusted when concerns about animal health and safety are discussed. She will not be able to build bridges to livestock producers. The spector of three dead calves will be hanging over her head at every meeting.