We will be debating the Agriculture and Natural Resources budget yet today (Wed. April 2nd). There are several parts to this budget that I think are headed in the right direction. An additional $725,000 will be added to the cost share conservation program. This will be money spent on grassed waterways, terraces, buffer strips, and other soil conservation projects.
Also in this bill is money to help close more agricultural drainage wells. Drainage wells were used to drain low areas when we first decided to farm the land in northern Iowa. They probably didn't cause any problems in the early days of farming but today those drainage wells could put chemicals, fertilizers, and soil directly into our aquifer. As I understand most of those drainage wells have been closed but there are several that are difficult to deal with that are left to close. The state had 269 Drainage wells in 1990; that is down to 37 with work being done on eight.
The voluntary nutrient reduction system that I was involved in last year has another $2,000,000 added to the budget for a total of 4.4 million dollars. That money can be used for cover crops, strip till, minimum till, and other methods of farming that we use to help grow the crops. I hope that farmers will take advantage of some of these programs. With the hypoxia area in the gulf and some of our waterways and lakes tarnished with chemicals and fertilizers, let's not give any more ammunition to those that complain about our quality of water. This legislation will kill two birds with one stone. Better water quality and better soil conditions.
Several colleges were represented at the capitol this week. Personnel from NIACC and ILCC were here along with a contingent from Waldorf College in Forest City. We are working diligently to find the funds to adequately fund our colleges. The University of Iowa also had a group of displays.
I once again want to thank each and every constituent from district 7 for allowing me the honor of representing you in this legislature. Even though, every vote may not meet with the wishes of all, I do hope that you feel I have represented you to the very best of my ability. Most of what we have left to do is budget bills. Please feel free to email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 515-538-0117.