The Iowa House passed a bill this week that reduces the yearly training time required for commercial manure applicators — the people who apply liquid manure to Iowa farm fields. A 2002 Iowa law forces commercial manure applicators to take three hours of continuing education classes each year to maintain their certification.
Representative Jarad Klein, a Republican from Keota, says the bill that passed the House cuts that to two hours of training per year to match what’s required for new on-line certification classes. “Everybody has to obey the same rules, regulations and laws and that’s the goal of this,” Klein says, “is to have one course for all applicators.”
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a group that has lobbied against what it calls “factory farms,” blasted Klein for pushing the bill because they said Klein has a financial interest in a swine operation with over 16,000 hogs.
Representative Curt Hanson, a Democrat from Fairfield, argues there should be more, not less training for those who apply liquid manure to farm fields. “In my opinion the reduction of spills that may contaminate our creeks and our streams should be our primary concern,” Hanson says.
The bill easily passed the House on a 66 to 31 vote. It must pass the Senate Ag Committee by next Friday, or will no longer be eligible for consideration this year.