Can Iowa's boom farm times shape White House race?

June 24, 2012 • Business

In this Wednesday, June 20, 2012 photo, Mark Beardmore leans on the front of a pickup truck at the auto dealership where he works in Carroll, Iowa. “Government needs to stay out of more things rather than infuse itself in more things,” says Beardmore, a county commissioner whose stance might seem unlikely since he’s a Chrysler salesman. Though the automaker was on the brink of collapse before a government rescue, he’s convinced it would have survived, maybe with an investment from China or another foreign country. Beardmore also thinks the move won the president political points. “I think Mr. Obama went to bed saying I’ve got to do something to save these jobs,” he says. “I don’t think he was laying his head on the pillow saying I’ve got to appease the unions. I think that was a side benefit.” (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

CARROLL, Iowa (AP) — In the swaying curtain of green fields outside town, Russ Ranniger hums along in his Deere tractor, plowing the same soil his father did, sleeping in the same 1881 wood-frame house he was carried into as a newborn 60 years ago. In nearly four decades of farming, he knows how to measure success.

Good crop prices? Check. Confidence (and money) to buy new equipment? Check. The past five years? “The best farming days of my career.”

Howard Drees, a third-generation contractor in Carroll, gauges prosperity Login to read more

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