Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey is requesting $7.5 million dollars for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative as part of the budget plan for the next fiscal year. Governor Branstad vetoed the bill containing money for the initiative in the last fiscal cycle.
Northey says the dollars would support new water quality practices and expanded work in targeted watersheds. “The water quality initiative just started about three years ago,” Northey says. “The first year, it was $2.4-million dollars in state funding, this year 4.4 million and we’re asking for that to go to 7.5 million for this next year.”
Northey also asked the governor for $7.5 million for soil conservation cost sharing for each of the next two fiscal years. “That historically has been about $6.5 to 7-million a year, so we matched those up,” Northey says. “What those do is fund part of the cost of putting practices on the ground, soil conservation, focuses like grass waterways and terraces and usually will pay a third to half the cost of those practices.”
Northey requested nearly $2 million more in 2016 and 2017 to support the closure of 17 additional agriculture drainage wells in the state. He says he’s optimistic about a favorable outcome.
(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)