With rural roads making up nearly 90,000 miles of the state's 114,000-mile road system, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation applauds the Governor's Transportation 2020 Citizen Advisory Commission recommendation for an additional 8 to 10 cents per gallon fuel tax.
"Our roads and bridges have been severely impacted over the years by flooding and neglect, negatively impacting all of Iowa, but especially our rural communities, businesses and farms. Our members believe it's imperative to repair the roads and bridges to help rural Iowa thrive," says Craig Lang, IFBF president. "We believe that an increase in the fuel tax is the fairest way to fund those repairs because it charges people who actually use the roads whether they live in Iowa or are from out of state."
Lang notes that Iowa Farm Bureau delegates in 2008 approved a policy resolution at their annual meeting calling for the fuel tax increase to repair the state's roads and bridges.
Recommendations will be given to Iowa Legislature, to get ready for debate
The tax increase recommendation made by the Governor's Transportation Citizen Advisory Commission was presented to the Iowa Department of Transportation last week after the commission held several listening sessions around the state. What's the next step?
The recommendations will be submitted to the Iowa Legislature by the Iowa Department of Transportation by the end of the year. The Iowa Department of Transportation reports that Iowa needs an additional $215 million per year to meet critical roadway needs and the recommended increase will generate $184 million to $230 million per year.
Farm Bureau's Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur of the Month Award
In other Iowa Farm Bureau news last week, it was announced that a company at Conrad, Iowa, which focuses on providing fresh water for livestock has earned the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation's Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur of the Month award for October 2011.
Ritchie Industries started in Oskaloosa in 1921 when Thomas Ritchie patented his first watering device. He connected underground running water to automatic float-controlled watering equipment. The water was heated with a kerosene lamp, saving farmers time and labor.
As the countryside grew, the business worked with the local rural electric co-op as it installed electricity to area farms. Even though technology and farming practices have changed, the need for waterers remains strong for livestock farmers. The company was purchased and moved to Conrad in 1943. Today, it focuses on providing equipment to the beef cattle, dairy and equine industries; selling to customers all over the United States and Canada.
While the company's reach is wide, it remains committed to community
While the company's reach is wide, it remains committed to its 65 employees and local community. "They (Ritchie Industries) made the investment to stay and grow and be a part of our community and county," says Brian Feldpausch, Grundy County Farm Bureau president, who nominated the company for the award. "They also support ag education in our schools and donate to the library. They're a mainstay and add support for future growth here in our county."
Renew Rural Iowa is an IFBF initiative supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring and financial resources. Registration is open for the Nov. 2 "Business Success" seminar, featuring Curt Nelson, president of the Entrepreneurial Development Center. The register for the seminar, to be held at Iowa Farm Bureau in West Des Moines, go to www.renewruraliowa.com.