The Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations bill was introduced last week in the Iowa Senate. The Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture and Natural Resources approved the bill on Thursday, March 14.
This bill provides funding for numerous programs for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources, but also included this year is significant funding for voluntary practices necessary for the implementation of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. It would provide cost-sharing with farmers and landowners on measures such as water quality projects in watersheds and for soil conservation programs, says Mindy Larsen Poldberg, government relations director for the Iowa Corn Growers Association.
The bill provides $2.4 million for FY 2014 and $4.4 million for FY 2015 for voluntary water quality initiatives as requested by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Gov. Terry Branstad earlier this year. The bill also provides an additional $10 million for a water quality initiative, a special projects fund, related to the Iowa Nutrient Management Strategy. The "WQ Special Projects Fund" would direct that 70% of the fund is intended for use in high-priority watersheds, and 30% toward other regional watersheds. These funds are to work with farmers locally, and include cost-share for conservation incentive practices.
Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a proposal that's long-term, voluntary and science-based
The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy proposal is a long-term, voluntary, science-based strategy to reduce nutrients in Iowa waters and reduce them in the Gulf of Mexico. The strategy applies to point and nonpoint sources of nitrogen and phosphorus, and many types of practices.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
The EPA is requiring action of states due to the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, and Iowa has developed this statewide nutrient reduction plan in response. The Iowa plan was developed by Gov. Branstad, the Iowa Department of Agriculture, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Iowa State University. The Iowa Corn Growers Association supports the proposal. More information on the plan can be found here.
RSVP for Iowa Corn Growers "Day on the Hill" which is set for March 27, 2013
In other corn related news, all Iowa Corn Growers Association members are invited to join the Iowa Corn staff for ICGA Day on the Hill at the Iowa State Capitol on March 27, 2013. The day will begin with lunch at the Historical Building (600 East Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50319) at 11:00 a.m., followed by an issues briefing at 11:45 a.m. The group will then travel to the Capitol to meet with state legislators from 1:30-4:00 p.m. Please RSVP by March 24. If you have questions on this event, contact ICGA office at 515-225-9242 or [email protected].
Reminder: some farmers need to have spill prevention and control plans
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, will require some farmers to have a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan in place by May 10, 2013, says ICGA's Poldberg. The original deadline for SPCC plans was November 2011. An SPCC plan is a measure to prevent oil or fuel spills and to have a plan in place should a spill occur.
Governors' Biofuels Coalition sends letters of support on Renewable Fuels Standard
Here's another interesting corn-related news item from the Iowa Corn Growers Association. On Tuesday, March 12, Iowa Gov. Branstad, along with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, asked the U.S. House and Senate to support the Renewable Fuel Standard or RFS. The request was made by the Governors, who are Chair and Vice Chair of the Governors' Biofuels Coalition, in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
In the letter, the Governors discuss the positive impact that biofuels have had on their states as well as the economic and energy security significance of the RFS. The Governors state that the RFS flexibilities currently in place are working and therefore urge the House and Senate to reject modifications to the RFS. The Iowa Corn Growers Association appreciates Gov. Branstad's support for the RFS, and thanks the Governors' Biofuel Coalition for sending this letter.