Center for Rural Affairs opposes budget bill: Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Iowa Flood Center are on the chopping block

Release Date: 

04/13/2017

Contact(s): 

Stephanie Enloe, policy program associate, stephaniee@cfra.org, 515.215.1294; or Rhea Landholm, brand marketing and communications manager, rheal@cfra.org, 402.687.2100 ext 1025

Update 10:45 a.m. - Last night, $1.2 million was restored to the Iowa Flood Center budget. The Center applauds this decision and urges the legislature to take similar action to protect the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

Nevada, Iowa - The Education Appropriations Subcommittee of the Iowa legislature proposed a budget bill this week that would eliminate several programs that support rural Iowans. Programs on the chopping block include the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Iowa Flood Center.

“The Center for Rural Affairs strongly opposes removing funding for these entities, and is concerned by the lack of opportunity for public input on the education appropriations subcommittee bill,” said Stephanie Enloe of the Center for Rural Affairs. “The proposal to cut funding has moved with unusual speed through the appropriations process.”

Over the past 30 years, the Leopold Center has supported more than 600 projects that have contributed to water quality, diversified cropping systems, livestock grazing, cover crops, soil health and local food systems. For example, the Leopold Center supported some of the initial research for practices that are now included in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction strategy, including streamside buffers, erosion control measures, and bioreactors.

Through the Iowa Flood Information System, the Iowa Flood Center provides flood prevention and mitigation services to Iowa communities. In its efforts to reduce flood risk in Iowa, the Flood Center works with rural communities to install structures that better manage water flow. They also partner with watershed groups across Iowa to implement locally directed watershed management plans. The Flood Center recently received a $96 million HUD grant to help improve water quality in nine Iowa watersheds, a grant that will likely be forfeit if the Iowa Legislature forces the Flood Center to close its doors.

“We expect this to move quickly, so contact your representatives about it as soon as possible,” Enloe said.

Citizens concerned about the elimination of funds for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Iowa Flood Center can contact their Iowa representatives. The Senate switchboard is 515.281.3371 and the House switchboard is515.281.3221. Iowans may also request a public hearing on the appropriations bills to create greater opportunity for public input.

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