Members of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) plan to focus their 2018 legislative lobbying efforts on securing long-term, dedicated state funding to support improving water quality and conserve soil, and measures which will protect taxpayers.
“Iowa farmers continue to take on the challenge of improving water quality and conserving the state’s topsoil, and farmers have made significant progress reducing nutrient loss and implementing successful conservation measures,” says IFBF President Craig Hill. “To continue that momentum, Farm Bureau will work with lawmakers during the 2018 session to secure long-term, dedicated funding to support the state’s scientific-based Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS).”
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ Condition of the State Address demonstrated a commitment to also make water quality funding a top priority during the 2018 legislative session, a statement earning her a standing ovation from legislators in attendance and strong support from Iowa Farm Bureau members.
“My hope is that a water quality bill is the first piece of legislation that I have the opportunity to sign as governor,” Reynolds said.
Farm Bureau strongly supports a bill that was originally passed by the Iowa House during the 2016 session and was slightly modified and passed by the Iowa Senate during the 2017 session. The bill, now called Senate File 512, is also supported by Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS).
Senate File 512 advances science-based research and watershed projects outlined in the NRS, promotes and incentivizes watershed collaboration, and establishes accountability as progress continues with water quality improvements.
The long-term, dedicated funding provided through Senate File 512 would allow farmers and the state to conduct long-term planning for watershed projects, soil conservation efforts, and collaborative projects within a watershed. Senate File 512 also maintains the collaborative approach of the 2016 House bill, which treats both point source (urban) and nonpoint source (rural) equitably.