Yesterday, AAI sent a letter to the Governor’s Office in support of Governor Branstad maintaining the Water Quality and Soil Conservation funding approved by the Iowa Legislature a few weeks ago in its entirety.
In total, the legislature has allocated $23.6 million to support water quality and conservation efforts during the 2014 legislative session. This funding was one of AAI’s top legislative priorities for this session.
Although Governor Branstad has been extremely supportive of this effort; he could line item veto portions of the final appropriations bills. In our letter, AAI encouraged Governor Branstad NOT to line item veto any of the funds provided for water quality and soil conservation.The Governor could make a decision at any time, but is required to act within 30 days of passage, or by May 30, 2014.
The legislature approved $4.4 million in ongoing funding and $3.5 million in one-time funding specifically for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative. These funds will allow the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to continue encouraging broad adoption of water quality practices through statewide cost share assistance as well as more intensive work in targeted watersheds. The legislation also gave IDALS the authority to provide cost share assistance for urban conservation projects.
The legislature also provided $5 million in one-time funding to help address the backlog of state soil conservation cost-share projects. This is in addition to the annual appropriation of $6.7 million. All funds are matched by the landowner to support construction.
The legislature provided $1.2 million to support the closure of eight additional agriculture drainage wells and $1.5 million to the Watershed Improvement Review Board.
Additionally, $1.3 million was appropriated to the nutrient management research center at Iowa State University to support ongoing research on practices farmers can use to reduce nutrient losses.
AAI is requesting that our members send a similar email and/or letter of support to the Governor. Emails can be sent directly to: [email protected] and to [email protected] or letters may be sent via USPA to the address found within the copy of our letter.