Iowa House lawmakers passed legislation this week, increasing state dollars to improve Iowa’s water quality, a hotly contested issue in the state since 2015. The House bill mirrors a bill passed by the Iowa Senate during the 2017 legislative session and now Senate File 512 awaits Governor Reynolds’s signature.
The Iowa Corn Growers Association sees this step as key in supporting the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. This strategy calls for a nutrient reduction in Iowa’s waterways through a practical and technology-based approach involving farmers and both urban and rural Iowa communities.
“Long-term, consistent water quality funding was a top policy priority for corn growers this session,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association President Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington. “This is encouraging news for farmers who continue to look for ways to step up our conservation efforts to better water quality for all Iowans. We commend the legislature’s actions to appropriate funds to this important topic.”
Passage of this legislation will provide nearly $300 million for water quality efforts in Iowa over the course of the next 12 years. These state dollars will be matched by federal, private, farmer, and landowner investments being made for conservation projects happening across the state.
“Iowa farmers are taking on the challenge and making continuous improvements in preserving the water, soil, air, and habitat on our farms. We are committed to making long-term, dedicated, and significant investments to continuously improve water quality. This funding will be a catalyst for the efforts already underway,” said Recker. “We are working with conservation experts, scientists, and in collaborative public and private partnerships to adopt new practices and technologies in improving our water.”
He went on to say that the number of farmers who sign up for voluntary cost sharing programs often outstrips the amount of tax dollars currently available and a stable funding stream for water quality is critical as it encourages continued collaboration between urban and rural partners across the state.