[imgcontainer] [img:mittcoal.jpeg] Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in southern Ohio yesterday promoting coal. The candidates are spending much of their August in rural communities [/imgcontainer]

Now that the campaign has gotten going, the candidates are finding it profitable to get to rural America. 

President Obama has spent the last three days touring rural Iowa on a bus. Mitt Romney visited a coal mine in southern Ohio. Joe Biden was in southern Virginia. And Paul Ryan was at the Iowa State Fair.

The New York Times’ Helene Cooper writes this morning about Obama’s Iowa tour, noting that this “prairie state is the place where his unlikely bid for presidency began” and that Obama is returning to Iowa “trying hard to reignite that fire” that began in 2007. He did this by stopping in smaller towns. In Oskaloosa, Iowa, he howdied, bought somebody a cinnamon roll and gave one person at the Coffee Connection a bottle of White House beer. 

Romney was in Beallsville, Ohio, standing near a dozer draped with a sign saying “Coal Country Stands With Mitt.” “If you don’t believe in coal, if you don’t believe in energy independence, then say it,” Romney said, picking up the “war on coal” theme that dominates the eastern coalfields. 

Romney spoke to a crowd of more than 1,500, according to Marc Kovac of the Daily Jeffersonian in Cambridge, Ohio. Not to be outdone by Obama’s cinnamon roll stop in Iowa, Romney bought ice cream (peanut butter cup and White House sundaes) at Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl in Zanesville and pizzas (pepperoni) at a shop in Cambridge.

Wind Debate — President Obama continued to support extension of tax support for the wind industry yesterday in Iowa. He said:

And at a moment when we want to pursue every avenue for job creation, it’s homegrown energy like wind that’s creating good, new jobs in states like Iowa.  Let me give you an example.  Back when I was first running for this office and spending a lot of time in this state, I visited the town of Newton, about a half an hour down the road.  The local Maytag plant was closing its doors and nearly 2,000 jobs were on the line.  So you had a once-thriving factory that was going dark and going quiet and, understandably, folks were worried about what would happen to the community. 

Then wind energy offered a new opportunity.  When I returned to Newton to visit that plant as President several months ago, some of the same folks who had lost their jobs at Maytag were back on the line building wind towers to support some of the most advanced wind turbines in the world. 

Unfortunately, what we thought was a bipartisan consensus in supporting wind power has been fraying a little bit during election season.  My opponent in this election says he wants to end tax credits for wind energy, wind energy producers that make all this possible.  He’s called these sources of energy “imaginary”; his new running mate has called them a “fad.” 

The Des Moines Register points out that, “All the huff and puff on the campaign trail in Iowa aside, it’s likely that the wind energy tax credit will pass this fall, Iowans who follow the issue say.” 

Romney’s Farm Council — Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has named an 83-member Farm and Ranchers For Romney coalition. 

It will be headed by Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska. Find the full list of co-chairs and members here

GMO Ad Campaign — Big bio-tech firms have spent $10 million in a campaign to defeat a ballot initiative in California that would require labels for genetically engineered crops and processed foods. 

Coke, General Mills, Campbell Soup and others are funding a “no” campaign for Proposition 37, what backers say is a “right to know” initiative. Organic farmers and health food retailers are backing this proposition.

GMO Drought — A Washington Post story reports that Kansas farmers who are using Monsanto corn seed modified to withstand drought are pleased by what they are seeing. 

“I’ve been surprised so far. The plants are responding well,” said Clay Scott, a Kansas farmer who planted two plots of Monsanto’s genetically engineered DroughtGard Hybrids among his 3,000 acres of corn. The experimental strain, which carries a gene that helps it draw water more gradually from the soil, is slated for wider release in 2013. “The ear size, kernel counts, the ear weights look good,” Scott said. But, he cautioned, “pretty corn doesn’t always result in yield.”

Just Beginning Not To Rain — A new study predicts the U.S. will suffer a series of severe droughts over the next 20 years. 

The report was published in the journal Nature Climate Change and was conducted by a climate researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The U.S. weather pattern is being affected by a cold cycle in the surface temperature of the eastern Pacific Ocean, which decreases rain in the western states. 

“We had a similar situation in the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s,” said Aiguo Dai, the author of the report. The Pacific cycle is being reinforced by climate change, Dai says.

Dry Deere — Not only is Deere & Co. being hurt by the slowdown in the global economy, the farm equipment manufacturer says it is cutting revenue projects due to the drought.

The company’s profits and revenue are still rising. Sales of tractors and other farm equipment rose 14 percent in the latest quarter.

But growth projections are being pared back.

Awesome AM — We know everything is awsome these days. Order a chicken sandwich and the waiter says, “Awesome.” 

But a new radio station in Greenwood, Mississippi, really IS awesome. 

Actually, WABG AM 960 is more unpredictable than anything else. I just turned it on and there is some nice country blues. A few days ago, there was an unbridled political discussion going on.

Listen here

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