Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey on Monday met with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds at the state Capitol to present his proposed budget for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship for the coming fiscal year.
Northey requested an additional $150,000 for the department’s Animal Industry Bureau to provide added support for preparations for and potentially responding to a foreign animal disease outbreak. He also requested continued funding to support the state’s Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program and the Agriculture Drainage Well Closure Program. He highlighted the need for support for long-term water quality funding.
These funding requests are for fiscal year 2019, which begins July 1, 2018. The Iowa Legislature and Reynolds will consider the proposed IDALS budget during the upcoming 2018 legislative session beginning in January.
Lean budget proposed for coming year
The department received $100,000 in funding starting this fiscal year to support preparations for a foreign animal disease outbreak and a portion of that funding was used to hire a new emergency management veterinarian. The additional funds would be used to accelerate work on emergency response plans, organize disease response exercises and expand coordination efforts with industry partners.
“Due to the challenging budget situation, we have put forward a lean budget proposal, with the only request for additional funding being a $150,000 increase for our foreign animal disease response planning efforts. I do believe it’s important we continue to invest in priority areas, including taking steps to better protect our state’s vitally important animal industry,” Northey said.
Funding for Iowa Water Quality Initiative
Northey requested continued funding of over $10.5 million to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in the next fiscal year and highlighted his support for identifying a long-term source of funding for the state’s water quality efforts. Different water quality funding approaches passed both the Iowa House and Iowa Senate last session, but the Legislature wasn’t able to reach final agreement on a funding plan.
In the meeting with Reynolds this week, Northey requested nearly $1.9 million in continued funding to support the closure of agriculture drainage wells. Of the 300 registered ADWs in Iowa, 18 remain to be closed at an estimated cost of $5.6 million. This level of funding over the next three years would allow all of the remaining ADWs to be closed.
Funding for Iowa Renewable Fuels Program
The state ag department also requested continued funding for its Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program. Northey said the department has received $3 million annually to offer cost-share grants for installation of E85 dispensers, blender pumps, biodiesel dispensers and biodiesel storage facilities.
Since 2007, the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program has provided more than $33 million to fuel retailers for infrastructure that gives customers additional access to renewable fuels. This includes 309 projects installing E85 or ethanol blender pumps, and 413 projects installing biodiesel pumps or storage tanks.