The USDA announced some key staff appointments on Wednesday, one being someone from Iowa.

Tim Gannon was named the Chief of Staff for Farm Production and Conservation.

Gannon is a graduate of the University of Iowa where he earned a degree in Global Studies.

Gannon recently served as the Coalitions Advisor for the Biden-Harris campaign in Iowa where his role was outreach and communications with farms, agriculture, and rural groups. He also would speak with activists that focus on rural American policies

Photo by Matheus Cenali on Unsplash
Photo by Matheus Cenali on Unsplash
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Iowa Dep. of Ag Announces Specialty Crop Grants

And Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is now accepting applications for the 2022 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. These grants are to be used to raise awareness or drive demand for specialty crops in Iowa.

According to Naig in a recent release.

Specialty crop block grants are a win-win for producers, distributors and consumers. The programs they support will help strengthen local distribution channels and grow markets for Iowa producers, while also making it easier for consumers to buy products grown right here in Iowa.

Crops eligible for the grant include fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops.

Applicants are asked to show how their projects can improve specialty crop production and all projects must have an educational aspect.

Grant awardees could receive up to $24,000 and projects could take up to thirty months.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship asks that proposals be in by March 11th, 2021. More information is available on the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program website.

5 Hottest Country Tours of Summer 2021


There’s a lot to consider when making a list of the hottest tours of summer 2021, including star power, opening acts, venues and set lists. Add to that concerns and cautions as the country begins to emerge from a pandemic and that no one has seen live music in 14 months. It’s quite likely you’re craving live music like a drug that’s just out of reach ... or you’re scared shirtless to surround yourself with 10,000 fans indoors. 

All the emotions about reengaging with the live country music community are valid. While at first it seemed September would be start-up month, several tours on this Hot List begin in July and August at outdoor venues across America. The No. 3 tour and No. 1 tour on our list are mostly indoors, but both are banking on increased safety that comes from a majority of the population having the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Once those lights go down, all of these worries will be carried away by the buzz in the air (and maybe, from your cup). Find five total professionals on this list of Hot Summer Tours, each bringing a total stage show, plus several in-demand opening acts with a proven track record of live entertainment at the highest level. There’s no fat on any of these country tours — if you stick to the tailgate through an opener’s set, you’ll truly be missing something special. 

As always, let us know who you can’t wait to see on tour in 2021 via Twitter or email

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