Soybean Association: Water Quality Top Legislative Priority
“Water quality is at the forefront of our minds and we support proposed funding that will enable farmers to implement practices and carry out environmentally conscious efforts,” said Wayne Fredericks, Iowa Soybean Assocation (ISA) president-elect and public affairs committee chairman. “It’s also time to work on new fuel tax alternatives that could fund the maintenance of our bridges and roads.”
Fredericks noted that ISA is working with other commodity groups and organizations to generate ideas for securing funding for transportation infrastructure initiatives. The timing seems right because Governor Branstad has indicated he will support legislation to increase funding for Iowa’s road and bridge maintenance.
“As shown by recent revenues, agriculture is clearly an economic driver for Iowa,” said Fredericks who farms near Osage. “Investments in research and infrastructure are vital to keeping agriculture strong, even during a period of lower grain prices. ISA will continue to support strategic investments in agricultural infrastructure.”
Improving environmental performance also remains a priority for the ISA. Fredericks said the extensive on-farm and environmental databases that ISA maintains is a valuable resource for farmers and legislators as they study the issue and identify practices that have a quantifiable impact on water quality.
“We concentrate on providing information for legislators,” said Carol Balvanz, ISA policy director. “We plan to participate heavily in the negotiations surrounding both road funding and funding for continuing Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”
Other ISA policy priorities include:
Disseminating information generated by the Soy Transportation Coalition to pursue a state bridge evaluation study to determine whether rural bridge embargoes have been correctly assessed. By using instrumentation to physically assess bridge strength, Iowa may be able to reduce the number of bridges that need replacement and repair across the state.
Encouraging legislation that would implement a state income tax credit for farmers who spend their own money on water quality and soil-saving efforts.
Working with the Ag Appropriations committee to obtain approval for the Integrated Farm and Livestock Management (IFLM) program which will be leveraged with checkoff and industry dollars to provide more research of benefits to farmers and the state as a whole.
Supporting funding for the ISU Ag Experiment Station and ISU Extension.