Iowa Soybean Association applauds passage of agricultural legislation

 

Bills bolster ag research, renewable fuels and the environment

 

Ankeny, Iowa – With the gavel about to fall officially marking the end of the 2014 Iowa legislative session, Iowa soybean farmers are pleased with passage of bills that support soil and water conservation, renewable fuels, agricultural research and other ag-related priorities.

Highlights include:

·         Approximately $4.4 million in ongoing funding and $3.5 million in one-time funding specifically for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative was approved. Lawmakers also provided $5 million in one-time funding to address a backlog of state soil conservation cost-share projects.

·         The state Biodiesel Production Tax Credit of 2 cents per gallon was extended for three years, which now goes through 2017.

·         Iowa State University (ISU) Agriculture Experiment Station funding was increased by nearly $1.8 million.

·         The Iowa Soybean Association received $400,000 for the On-Farm Network® demonstration program.

·         ISU Diagnostic Vet Lab funding was increased to $4 million as requested.

Even though ISA’s top priority of increasing the state’s gas tax to improve rural transportation infrastructure wasn’t approved, officials say the measures that did pass show how important agriculture is to the state. Throughout the session, ISA leaders voiced their support for agriculture-related bills to key lawmakers and dozens of farmers visited with elected officials during weekly visits to the capital. ISA also hosted a Legislative Reception at the beginning of the session.

“Conservation and water quality are a big concern, and we’re encouraged by the financial support to help farmers carry out the voluntary measures set forth in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said ISA President Brian Kemp who farms near Sibley. “Biodiesel and renewable fuels received great support, which is a win for farmers and the state. The increase in ag research funding, which has been a concern in recent years, is now heading in the right direction.”

Kemp credited the hard work of farmers and ISA staff for getting many ISA priorities passed. In particular, the ISA’s Adopt an Urban Legislator Program, in which farmers help lawmakers become more familiar with production agriculture.

“The face-to-face contact is very important. It helps keep legislators informed on the issues … we’re building relationships year-round,” Kemp said. 

ISA lobbyist Jill Altringer said the association will continue to work on the fuel tax increase, ag appropriation funding, conservation work and ensuring the livestock and biofuels industries stay strong in Iowa.

“We are already looking forward to issues we will need to consider next year,” Altringer said.

To learn more about ISA, go to www.iasoybeans.com