The leader of a large Iowa farm group says the 2014 state legislative session, which wrapped up last Friday, was a successful one for agriculture and funded several much-needed programs. Brian Kemp of Sibley, president of the Iowa Soybean Association, says major victories included passage of energy legislation to boost biodiesel production as well as support for agricultural research.

“We had an extension of the biodiesel producer tax credit and E-15 credit, that’s a 2% credit that’s extended for three years,” Kemp says. “They’re certainly showing their support with an increase of almost $1 million in ag research to the ag experiment station.” Legislators also funded the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Iowa State University.

He says an important ag program that received significant funding helps producers with technology. “The Iowa Soybean Association On Farm Network was also supported with $400,000 that will help producers do their own research with GPS technology on their own farms,” he says. Kemp says he’s disappointed lawmakers failed to pass an increase in the state’s gasoline tax, which would have pumped new funding into the state’s fund for repairs to roads and bridges. “This is a very difficult year to get an increase in the fuel tax through, it’s an election year,” he says. “We’re very likely going to bring that back next year and spend some time promoting that through the legislature.”

Kemp says House Ag Committee Chairman Josh Byrnes of Osage made great last gasp effort to get transportation needs funded but fell just a bit short as time ran out.

(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)