WEST DES MOINES – Iowa Farm Bureau Federation members will continue to work to advance Iowa’s water quality and soil conservation efforts, protect property taxpayers and improve Iowa’s road and bridge infrastructure in the 2014 legislative session.
A strong push to continue to improve soil and water quality is one of several priorities identified by IFBF members.
“It’s very important to maintain the momentum we have already seen for these voluntary conservation efforts by Iowa farmers through the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said Craig Hill, IFBF president. “The strong demand last fall for water quality and soil conservation funds which were allocated during the 2013 legislative session clearly shows that farmers are stepping up to reduce nutrient loss and improve the soil for generations to come.”
In 2013 the Legislature allocated on-going and one-time money to implement the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, and the majority of that money has been allocated. Iowa Farm Bureau will seek an additional $10 million in one-time funding to continue these new efforts in crop management and watershed projects. In addition, Farm Bureau will advocate for one-time funds to help address the $18.5 million backlog of conservation cost-share projects to reduce soil loss, where demand has significantly outpaced cost-share funding, as well as one-time money to help close Iowa’s remaining ag drainage wells.
Ensuring that property taxpayers’ contributions to the mental health system remain limited and controlled will be another emphasis for Farm Bureau during the 2014 legislative session. As a result of previous mental health reform legislation, the current funding formula for property taxes is set to expire, and will need to be addressed this session.
Farm Bureau members will also advocate for increased funding for Iowa’s roads and bridges, many of which are deteriorating and in need of repair or rebuilding. Studies have shown that an additional $215 million per year is needed to meet the critical needs of Iowa’s aging roads and bridges.