Secretary Naig Requests Funding to Support Recommendations from the Economic Recovery Advisory Board Ag Working Group
DES MOINES, Iowa (Feb. 16, 2021) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig met with the Iowa House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee today to review the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s proposed FY2022 budget. Secretary Naig used this opportunity to discuss some of his priority initiatives that help protect animal health, continue to improve soil health and water quality, and create new markets for Iowa farmers.
“I was proud to co-lead the Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board Agriculture Working Group. Input from those stakeholders helped shape some of the Department’s legislative priorities,” said Secretary Naig. “The Ag Working Group identified strategies to support a value-added agriculture program, increase the demand for higher blends of renewable fuels, and continue to lead the state’s ongoing conservation, environmental stewardship and sustainability efforts. Funding to support these initiatives is reflected in the Department’s FY2022 budget request.”
Value-Added Agriculture Grant Program
New this year, Secretary Naig has requested $500,000 to establish a value-added agriculture grant program. If this funding is approved, the Department will provide grants that incentivize, reduce some financial risk and create networks so producers feel empowered to explore new product offerings, expand production and test alternative marketing strategies. The Department successfully pilot-tested similar grant programs using CARES Act funding in 2020.
Secretary Naig also requested increased funding to support the following ongoing initiatives:
Foreign Animal Disease Prevention and Response Planning
Iowa’s livestock market contributes more than $13 billion to the state’s economy. If a foreign animal disease breaches U.S. borders, it could be devastating to Iowa’s livestock herds, international trade markets, and agriculture-based economy. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has been working closely with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), farmer-led livestock groups, and other livestock-producing states to apply the lessons learned during previous animal disease outbreaks and develop plans to prevent, contain and eradicate any future outbreaks as quickly as possible.
Since 2019, the Department has held a series of workshops to prepare for an African Swine Fever outbreak and test its Foot and Mouth Disease vaccination strategy. The state has purchased equipment and developed resources to help producers formulate on-farm response plans, and created an online training program to increase the number of public and private veterinarians who are available to assist with a disease outbreak.
Secretary Naig has requested an additional $500,000 from the Iowa Legislature to continue building upon these efforts.
Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program
The renewable fuels industry is a cornerstone of Iowa’s economy. According to a recent study commissioned by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, the production of ethanol and biodiesel accounts for nearly $4 billion in state GDP, supports 37,000 direct and indirect jobs, and boosts Iowa household income by $1.8 billion. The renewable fuels industry was also hit hard in 2020 by travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secretary Naig has requested an additional $2 million for the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) to help fuel retailers and dispensers convert their equipment to offer more and/or higher blends of renewable fuels at convenience stores and travel centers. When fuel retailers invest in infrastructure that supports higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel, drivers gain access to more affordable, cleaner-burning fuels at the pump.
To date, the RFIP program has distributed or obligated more than $38 million to help fund 335 E85 dispensers/blenders, 362 biodiesel dispensers/blenders, 72 E15 projects, and 143 biodiesel terminals in Iowa.
Soil Health and Water Quality Initiative
2020 was a record year for conservation efforts in the state of Iowa. With continued, long-term water quality funding, the Department will continue working alongside farmers, landowners and municipal leaders to support the adoption and completion of conservation practices in priority watersheds to advance the goals outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. These rural and urban projects improve soil health and water quality, provide wildlife habitats, and support recreational opportunities, like hunting and fishing. To learn more about the Department’s ongoing soil health and water quality initiatives, visit CleanWaterIowa.org.