Northey Praises Governor for Strong Support of Water Quality in Budget Proposal

DES MOINES -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today thanked Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds for including $7.5 million for the Water Quality Initiative in their budget proposal.  This proposal continues their strong support for a voluntary, science-based approach to improving water quality, building on the $2.4 million and $4.4 million received from the general fund in fiscal years 2014 and 2015 to support water quality.

“The Governor’s strong support for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative has been critically important and the $7.5 million provided in his budget would help us build on that exciting progress that has already been made,” Northey said.  “The legislature has also been extremely supportive of voluntary, science based water quality efforts and I look forward to working with legislators on a bipartisan basis in both the House and Senate on this budget request as we go through the appropriations process.”

The $7.5 million for the Water Quality Initiative would allow the Department to offer cost share statewide to farmers trying new water quality practices, continue work in targeted watersheds to achieve measurable water quality improvements, expand urban conservation efforts, and develop new programs to help engage all Iowans in improving water quality.

Branstad also included $6.75 million for conservation cost share in his budget.  For over four decades, Iowa’s soil conservation cost share program has encouraged the adoption of conservation structures and practices to protect and preserve our state’s natural resources and improve water quality.  Last year alone, the state’s $9.5 million investment generated $13 million in matching funds from Iowa farmers and land owners to support conservation practices.

The Governor’s budget also included $1.92 million to support the closure of eight additional agriculture drainage wells in the state to protect groundwater quality.