Naig highlights ag provisions of ’18 legislative session

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig on Wednesday highlighted key agriculture provisions passed by the Iowa Legislature during the 2018 legislative session. This includes long-term funding for water quality efforts, additional funding for foreign animal disease response preparations, continued funding for the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program and updates to the Iowa noxious weed law.

“The state of Iowa is a nationally recognized leader in agriculture production, and the Iowa Legislature has reinforced their commitment to Iowa agriculture through their passage of landmark water quality and agriculture-related legislation,” Naig said.

In January, the legislature passed and Governor Reynolds signed into law SF 512 which provides $282 million for water quality efforts in Iowa over the next 12 years. The legislation provides a growing source of funding, starting with $3.9 million next fiscal year and increasing to over $28 million annually. In addition to SF 512, the legislature provided $10.2 million to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

“This funding will be targeted towards increasing the number of wetlands, saturated buffers and bioreactors that have been shown to improve water quality while also allowing the department to continue to offer innovative new approaches, such as the first-of-its-kind crop insurance incentive program aimed at increasing acres of cover crops,” Naig said. “Long-term, predictable funding also makes it easier to leverage funds and attract additional partner investments as it shows the state’s commitment to water quality.”

The legislature also provided an additional $150,000 to aid in preparing for a foreign animal disease outbreak. This is in addition to the $100,000 appropriated for the current fiscal year. The funds will increase the capacity of the animal industry bureau and provide resources to better equip and prepare for a future animal disease response.

The department again received $3 million through the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund to continue the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program. This program offers cost-share grants for the installation of E85 dispensers, blender pumps, biodiesel dispensers, and biodiesel storage facilities, which provides consumers with expanded access to renewable fuels.

In addition, the legislature passed and the Governor signed into law during this session an update to the Iowa noxious weed law that allows the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture to declare a plant species as a noxious weed by administrative rule rather than this being set in Iowa Code. The goal is to give the department additional tools to combat weed resistance more effectively.

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