Weighty issue

Earlier this week I called attention to recent apple- and pumpkin-promoting news releases from Iowa’s Secretary of State.  Today, I bring you two more news releases — one from out-going Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack and (in response) one from Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle who frequently criticizes Vilsack but in this case "applauds" Vilsack.

First, here is the Vilsack item released at about 10:15 last Friday, October 6.

Vilsack Suspends Weight Limits for Hauling Grain on Iowa Roads
DES MOINES – In response to Iowa’s expected “bumper crop” harvest this year, and recent near record high temperatures, Governor Vilsack signed a “proclamation of disaster emergency” that suspends for 30 days the Iowa law on transporting oversize and overweight loads of grains. The suspension will last until 11:59 PM on November 4, 2006. Legal axle weight limits will continue to apply

The emergency proclamation allows Iowa farmers and grain haulers to transport loads up to 90,000 pounds of soybeans, corn, hay, straw, and stover on all highways within Iowa, excluding the Interstate system, for a period of 30 days from the signing of the proclamation. This action will allow vehicles transporting grains to be oversize and overweight only for the duration of the proclamation. Weight embargoes on bridges will continue to apply.

“Every year at harvest time, I reflect on the changing landscape of Iowa – as the fields during harvest provide the most visible proof that Iowa’s landscape is continually changing,” said Vilsack. “I congratulate Iowa’s farmers on another good harvest and I encourage all Iowans to take their personal safety seriously during this harvest.” The action taken by the Governor will ensure the public’s safety and facilitate the movement of grain to markets on trucks. The Iowa Department of Transportation has been directed by the Governor’s office to monitor the operation. .

Now, here is the news release Nussle’s campaign issued at about 1:30 the same day.

Nussle Applauds Governor’s Emergency Proclamation for Farmers
Weight Limits Temporarily Lifted for Fall Harvest

DES MOINES, IA – Iowa gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle released the following statement today:

“I’m pleased Governor Vilsack has exercised his executive authority to provide emergency assistance to our farmers by temporarily raising the weight limits for hauling grain on Iowa highways. This year’s fall harvest is expected to produce a bumper crop, and our farmers need to be able to move to market as much grain as possible in a safe and efficient manner. By temporarily raising the weight limit to 90,000 thousand pounds for the next 30 days, we’ll be able to get more Iowa-grown corn and soybeans in the hands of global buyers sooner, boosting our state and rural economies. With volatile energy prices and bigger crop loads, the Governor’s emergency proclamation is much-needed relief for our farmers and our state’s critically important agricultural industry. I want to applaud the Governor for this action so we can continue to grow Iowa and share our Iowa-grown products worldwide.”

It’s been just about a week, and no word from the Culver camp on this weighty issue.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. As I recall, the apple and pumpkin releases actually came from Patty Judge, the Secretary of Ag, not Culver, the Secretary of State.