More than 70 Iowa Soybean Association directors and delegates reaffirmed support for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy during the organization's annual meeting and policy conference held December 12 in Ankeny.
Leaders representing soybean growers in Iowa's nine crop districts adopted policy supporting the strategy unveiled last month by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. The broad based, statewide plan proposes the first-of-its kind framework for reducing nutrient loads discharged from the state's largest wastewater treatment facilities in combination with targeted practices to reduce loads from non-point sources, including agriculture.
"ISA delegates support the draft strategy because it's a science- and technology-based approach that recognizes the diversity of the state's topography and complexities of individual watersheds," says ISA President Mark Jackson. "It also seeks to replicate on a larger scale effective, voluntary practices in conjunction with research, development and demonstration of new practices. This approach is much more effective than a costly, one-size-fits-all effort to improving water quality."
Jackson says the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship and Iowa Department of Natural Resources worked with Iowa State University for more than two years to develop the strategy. It embraces systems developed by the ISA's Environmental Programs and Services division that have been implemented with measurable success in targeted watersheds. The strategy is currently open for public comment through Jan. 4, 2013. Farmers are encouraged to provide their input at the Nutrient Reduction Strategy website.
In other action at last week's annual soybean growers meeting, ISA delegates:
* Urged the Obama Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct a review of all policies regarding cover crops and remove all unnecessary regulations and extra administrative hurdles that discourage their use. "Cover crops are a sound agronomic practice and they're receiving considerable attention," says Jackson. "Farmers should have the opportunity to use cover crops without the threat of undue regulation."
* Opposed any state or federal initiative to mandate labels on food containing genetically modified ingredients and efforts to shift property taxes to crop land in order to provide relief to owners of non-crop land.
* Support allowing out-of-state landowners to purchase doe and buck deer tags in the interest of lowering Iowa's deer population and reducing crop loss.
The ISA Policy Conference was sponsored by AGP. To learn more about Iowa Soybean Association, visit its website.