Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has requested $10 million for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative and a half million for avian influenza response efforts, among other requests. The requests came in a public meeting with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds as part of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s fiscal 2017 budget request.
Northey requested a half million dollar appropriation to aid in preparing for and potentially responding to a foreign animal disease outbreak, such as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). The funds would be used to increase the capacity of the animal industry bureau and provide resources to better equip and prepare for future responses.
Northey says that the USDA has identified the recent avian influenza outbreak as the worst animal health emergency in U.S. history and unfortunately, Iowa was at the center of it. He says that animal agriculture adds so much to the state and the requested funds would help the Department continue to prepare for another animal disease situation, whether it is avian influenza or another disease.
The $10 million request for the Water Quality Initiative would allow the Department to continue offering cost share statewide to farmers trying new water quality practices, expand work in targeted watersheds to achieve measurable water quality improvements, and continue to develop new programs to help engage all Iowans in water quality efforts. The Department received $9.6 million for the current fiscal year for the Water Quality Initiative.
Northey also requested $7.5 million for conservation cost share. For over four decades, Iowa’s soil conservation cost share program has encouraged the adoption of conservation structures and practices to protect and preserve our state’s natural resources. Last year alone, the state’s $9.8 million investment generated $12.8 million in matching funds from Iowa farmers and land owners to support conservation practices.
Northey also asked for $150,000 from the Technology Reinvestment Fund to begin the process of updating the Iowa Commercial Pesticide License and Certification Database. The current database system was developed in 1987 and is unsupported by current Windows operation systems.