The Iowa Secretary of Agriculture is calling for improved odor controls and conservation efforts in 2008.
Republican Bill Northey says he hopes lawmakers will support a five year, $22 million initiative to battle livestock odors. Critics of the plan say livestock operations should foot the entire bill, rather than receive aid from Iowa taxpayers. But Northey says other industries receive help through state economic development programs and farmers deserve the same treatment. "Generally, ag production or farmers don’t qualify for those," Northey says, "but we have an industry that’s very important. It’s a very important question – how can we do a better job managing those facilities? I think it’s the right kind of investment to make sure we have the science for them to be better neighbors and to have profitable operations."
Northey, who is a farmer from Spirit Lake, says conservation efforts will also be a top priority in 2008. "We have a very productive state and very productive farmland," Northey explains, "so we’ve got to make sure we’re doing the right things on that land and the right things for the water."
One ag project that will continue in 2008 is the effort to boost ethanol use. Northey says the use of "blender pumps" or other marketing tools might push motorists to use higher blends of ethanol, rather than the dominant E-10. Blender pumps are designed to let consumers choose the amount of ethanol that will be mixed with gasoline.
During his campaign for the office, Northey vowed to visit and hold town meetings in all 99 Iowa counties. He completed that mission this month.