Sioux County, in northwest Iowa, is known for its Dutch pastries. The landscape is dotted with Lutheran and reform churches. But today, Catholic churches and tortillerias are creeping into the landscape — signs of the new residents joining this vibrant community.
In Sioux County, as in a scattering of communities across the Midwest, Hispanic immigrants are working in meat processing plants, dairies, egg-laying facilities and hog barns. In fact, the majority of U.S. farm laborers today were born outside the U.S.
Iowa farmer Brent Hayes looks out over 1,700 acres of winter wheat he planted last October on flood-damaged land near the Missouri River. The foot-high crop was used to help replenish the soil for corn.
For many Midwesterners, wind is an occasional nuisance. For farmers, though, the wind’s impact can be huge — drying out crops and eroding topsoil. Gusts big and small also complicate the application of chemicals, and that can be particularly costly.
When futures trading firm MF Global went bankrupt at the end of October, regulators discovered $1.6 billion in customer funds missing, much of it belonging to Midwest farmers and ranchers. But MF Global clients aren’t the only ones hurting in farm country.
This week: Columbia’s biggest export to China isn’t corn, soybeans, or any manufactured product. It’s scrap metal. In fact trade experts are calling Columbia’s export “waste and scrap.” Plus, find out how one farmer is still shifting through the aftermath after losing hundreds of acres of farmland.