DES MOINES, Iowa (Iowa Department of Agriculture) – Yesterday, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey encouraged Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds to sign the portions of SF2363 that provides $60 million to pay off state debt and $11.2 million for water quality and conservation programs. The bill passed the Iowa House of Representatives with a vote of 97-0 and passed the Iowa Senate on a 26-22 vote.
“I appreciate the Legislature’s effort to make conservation and water quality spending a priority,” said Northey. “Like a family or business, when you have funds left over, it’s wise to pay down debt and invest in priorities, and that’s what they did. I ask for the Governor and Lt. Governor to continue their strong support for our conservation and water quality efforts and sign the funding into law.” Northey also pointed out that “vetoing this funding would give ammunition to the critics that Iowa isn’t serious about improving water quality, and [would] undermine the exciting progress we have made.”
SF2363 provided $3.5 million in one-time funding specifically for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative, and would be used to continue to encourage the broad adoption of water quality practices through statewide cost share assistance as well as more intensive work in targeted watersheds. The bill also includes $5 million to help address the backlog of state soil conservation cost-share projects. All funds would be matched by the landowner to support construction of conservation practices. $1.2 million in the bill would support the closure of eight agriculture drainage wells and $1.5 million would be provided to the Watershed Improvement Review Board.
“I encourage Iowans to contact the Governor and Lt. Governor today and express your support for this funding,” Northey said. “As the Governor has said repeatedly, agriculture has been the strength of our state’s economy in recent years, and this funding would help make sure it remains strong.”
Iowans can contact the Governor and Lt. Governor by calling 515-281-5211 or can submit a comment online by clicking here. The Governor has until June 2nd to decide whether to sign or veto the bill.