IOWA FARM BUREAU APPLAUDS 2012 LEGISLATURE FOR PROTECTING PROPERTY TAXPAYERS, INCREASEING CONSERVATION FUNDING, AND AG PROTECTION PASSAGE Print
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Monday, 14 May 2012 13:17

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – May 10, 2012 – Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the largest grassroots farm organization in the state, applauds Iowa lawmakers for measures passed this year which protect property owners, increase conservation funding and protect responsible Iowa livestock farmers from fraud.

Several measures passed in this legislative session that impact property taxes paid by landowners and homeowners.  IFBF applauds two legislative issues that directly impact property owners including a combined $27 million increase to the homestead property tax credit and ag land and family farm property tax credit, providing for direct property tax relief,”  said IFBF President Craig Hill, a Milo crop and livestock farmer.  Additionally, the legislature reinstated the statewide dollar cap to ensure that property tax contributions to the mental health system remain limited and controlled.  “These efforts, along with fully funding the legislature’s K-12 education commitments, provide protections for property taxpayers and assure limited and controlled use of property tax dollars for these services.”

While IFBF had several priority issues win bi-partisan approval in the 2012 legislative session, members are particularly pleased to see increased conservation and water quality cost-share funding for programs which are currently experiencing a backlog of unfunded projects.  “Farm Bureau members are pleased that lawmakers decided to increase state funding for incentive-based, voluntary conservation and water quality programs, including the Ag Drainage Well Closure program.  Farmers know a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work when it comes to conservation measures, but they do know what works best on their land.  Conservation measures such as buffer strips, terracing and other soil-protection and water quality measures have helped Iowa farmers reduce erosion by more than 30 percent since 1982, but requests for cost-share dollars to implement them have been grossly underfunded,” said Hill.   The increase in the Ag Drainage Well Closure program and Conservation Cost-Share program will translate into enhanced water quality and soil conservation in Iowa.

Another high priority issue for Iowa family farmers which won passage in the 2012 legislature was the Agriculture Protection Bill.  The bi-partisan House File (HF) 589 creates penalties for those who fraudulently gain access to a farm with the intent to cause harm.   “It’s about misrepresentation of character,” said Hill.  “Good farmers don’t want to think that someone is sitting on the sidelines, watching bad things happen, just because they have some covert motive.”   HF 589 creates new penalties for those who make false statements to gain access to a farm, or misrepresent themselves on an employment application to hide their intended misconduct or purpose.   It also penalizes organizations or persons who aid or abet someone who misrepresented facts to gain access to a crop or livestock farm.

Farm Bureau members will continue to work towards improving Iowa’s infrastructure, an area which was not addressed by this year’s legislature.  “Many of Iowa’s roads and bridges are in need of significant structural improvements, and we continue to fall further behind every year.  Clearly, this problem will not go away without additional funding; that’s why Farm Bureau members have identified a fuel tax increase as the most equitable, feasible funding method,” said Hill.

-30-

About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media room at www.iowafarmbureau.com.