Man testifying at state legislature
Advocate

Advocate

Action Alert: Tell the Iowa Legislature to pay out the Solar Energy System Tax Credit

Dear friend:

Iowans who installed residential solar energy systems learned at the end of last year they would not be receiving a tax credit from the state. For many, the opportunity to receive a tax credit led them to make the investment, and quite a few had been on the waiting list for more than a year.

Instead, the Iowa Solar Energy System Tax Credit expired at the end of 2021, with the state deciding that they would not be paying out the credit to residential applicants on the waiting list. Covering approximately 13% of the installation, the savings made solar energy more accessible and allowed them to save on their energy bills in the long run. 

Iowa lawmakers, however, have the opportunity to make good on the state’s promise with companion bills introduced in the Senate and House. 

Senate File 2326 is expected to be heard before a Ways and Means subcommittee in the Senate soon. This bill would pay out the current waiting list, extend the application deadline for projects constructed last year, from May 1 to June 30, and rescind the rejections that have already occurred for any application that would have otherwise qualified for the credit.

House File 2556 is a companion bill that passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee on March 14 and will go to the House floor for debate and a vote in the near future.

Will you take a minute to encourage lawmakers to pay out the residential tax credits owed to the Iowans on the waiting list? 

Senate File 2326 - Call 515.281.3371 or email:

House File 2556 - Call 515.281.3221 or email your representative. 

If you have any questions or want more information, please contact me at 402.687.2100, ext. 1016 or nicks@cfra.org

Thank you for making your voice known on this important issue.

Nick Summers
Policy Assistant

State and national policy directly impact how we live. We always need advocates to speak up for rural America.

We work on a variety of issues, from rural development, to clean energy, to conservation and climate. When we work with supporters, we use the same general tools to advocate across our issues. This page outlines some general resources about tools and tactics we have found to be effective.

Are you willing to take action today? There are three ways you can help right now.

  • Make your voice heardCall, email, or write your elected officials. Keep their contact information handy. Legislation can move fast; be ready at a moment’s notice.
     
  • Step up and take actionWrite a letter to the editor. Speak out in your community. Attend a listening session. Testify at the state capitol. Tell us how you’re ready to step up to build a stronger, brighter rural future.
     
  • Pitch in to support the effortYour donation today helps ensure we have the resources to share your values with representatives in Lincoln and Des Moines, or maybe at your statehouse.  

Don’t forget to display confidence, enthusiasm, credibility, and commitment. One way to display credibility is telling your representative where you live, so they know you are a constituent in their district.

Sign up for our newsletter and email alerts—We’ll keep you in the loop with action alerts, and steps you can take to advocate for timely policy. If you live in Nebraska, Iowa, or South Dakota, we’ll also send you biweekly legislative updates from our staff working at your state capitol during session. 

How will these actions create change? The people you are reaching out to are lawmakers who need your vote to become elected or stay in office. As your representatives, their job is to shape policy on behalf of your interests.

If you would like to be involved in any of these activities: make phone calls, host meetings, meet with elected officials, write letters, or testify on important legislation, please contact us at info@cfra.org.

Your advocacy ensures your voice is heard on issues that matter most to you. Remember to always show respect to legislators and their staff members, regardless of where they stand on the issue.

For more information on how to be an advocate:

Previous Action Alerts

Action Alert: Ask your senator to support the Independent Processor Assistance Program

Earlier today, the Nebraska Legislature’s Appropriations Committee announced its recommendations for funding as part of the state’s allotment of recovery funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Included in the proposal is $10 million to help small- and medium-sized processors secure the space and equipment needed to keep up with an historic increase in demand for their services. This is a big win. 

While we are pleased that the committee included our request in Legislative Bill (LB) 1014, we want to make absolutely sure funding goes to the processors who truly need it to grow their business, invest in their community, and help the small farms around them. 

To ensure this, Sen. Tom Brandt has introduced an amendment (AM 2444) that would place this funding in the Independent Processor Assistance Program (IPAP). 

IPAP was created by LB 324 and received unanimous approval during debate. The program was developed with the cooperation and input of processors and producers across Nebraska. It contains meaningful guardrails that help make sure the money is invested in projects that grow rural Nebraska. To be eligible, the business: 

  • Must operate a federally inspected or custom exempt slaughter and processing facility in Nebraska;
  • Have existing sales revenue of less than $2.5 million; 
  • Employ fewer than 25 full-time individuals; and
  • Be registered in good standing with the Secretary of State to do business in Nebraska.

IPAP was designed to respond to processor and producer needs. Because program requirements are already developed, using IPAP can help guarantee this funding is distributed promptly and efficiently. Without IPAP, the Department of Agriculture would need to create a new program that may instead favor the already large processors that dominate this market. 

Will you contact your state senator and urge them to vote for AM 2444? With debate on LB 1014 and its amendments expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, March 23,  a call or email to your representative can make a big difference. 

If you have any questions, please contact me at johnathanh@cfra.org or 402.687.2100 ext.1014.

Sincerely,

Johnathan Hladik
Policy Director   

Action Alert: Become an advocate for healthy soil–ask your senator to support LB 925

Dear friends,

Farmers and ranchers are in a unique position to restore the soil health of our state, which will benefit our farming economy, watersheds, and communities for future generations. Soil management practices, such as cover crops and no-till, also contribute to a landscape that is more resilient to a changing climate over time. 

However, we can’t expect farmers and ranchers to take on this responsibility alone, particularly when adopting new soil management practices requires their time and financial resources.

Legislative Bill 925, introduced by Sen. Tim Gragert, proposes a framework that will help our state’s producers adopt soil health practices, using an approach that focuses not only on the technicalities of soil management, but the benefits that come from peer-to-peer, hands-on learning. The proposed producer learning communities and regional demonstration farms have the potential to combine geographically-based methods with trust among producers to create a network of soil health advocacy and action across our state.

Will you contact your state senator and urge them to support LB 925 and the advancement of healthy soil in Nebraska?

As this bill will be up for debate as soon as tomorrow, a call or email to your representative is important. If you have any questions, please contact me at kaleeo@cfra.org or 402.687.2100 ext.1022. 

Sincerely,

Kalee Olson
Policy Associate

Action Alert: Ask your senator to keep public power in the hands of Nebraskans

Rural Red Alert

Dear friends: 

The future of Nebraska’s public power system is on the line at the Nebraska Legislature and we need your voice to make sure public power remains a system by the people and for the people. 

A bill (Legislative Bill 1046) was recently introduced that would reduce local control and decision-making power by giving the governor authority to appoint five out of nine public power district board of directors members and the CEO for the Nebraska Public Power District and Omaha Public Power District.

The power to elect board members has been held by the customer-owners of public power districts for decades because they have unique perspectives, insights, and concerns when it comes to the energy they use every day. Therefore, the people should have the power to elect the board members they believe will reflect their perspectives and carry their concerns.

The tradition of public power in Nebraska has been widely successful, bringing many benefits to the state, including low cost of electricity, reliable and sustainable generation sources, and local input to utilities. 

Will you make your voice heard to keep public power in the hands of Nebraskans?

We urge you to contact your state senator to voice your opposition to LB 1046.

Thank you for making your voice known on this important issue. 

Lindsay Mouw
Policy Associate

Action Alert: Become an advocate for our local food system

Dear friend,

Local food production and purchasing is good for rural economies. It is estimated that for every dollar spent on local food, 76 cents stays in the community. This is compared to only 28 cents when food is purchased from outside our state.

Legislative Bill (LB) 1201 seeks funding from Nebraska’s allotment of State Recovery Funds provided by the American Rescue Plan Act to help solve food access issues. The bill would allocate $20 million to decrease Nebraska’s reliance on national supply chains, and support partnerships between local food producers and businesses. This funding would produce strong farms, open new markets, and support a food economy that preserves a healthy rural future.

LB 1201 also requests $20 million for the state's two food banks to purchase food and improve infrastructure, ensuring families who need help now are supported. Rural Nebraska has close to 60 food pantries that would see an increase in support as a result of this funding.

Members of the Appropriations Committee need to hear directly from their constituents on this important issue. The committee will be voting on its spending recommendations next week, so a call or email to your representative is important.

Click here to find your senator.

If you have any questions please contact me at timm@cfra.org or 402.687.2100 ext.1032. 
 
Sincerely,
Tim Mussack
Senior Policy Associate

Action Alert: Urge your senator to support a veto override for emergency rental assistance

On March 29, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed Legislative Bill 1073, which would require the state to accept the $120 million in federal funds already set aside for Nebraska to extend the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) into the year 2025. 

Through federal legislation that has already passed, each state was allotted funding to address housing challenges caused by the pandemic. 48 of 50 states have accepted their allotment. 

The ERAP helps low-income households who are unable to pay rent and utilities due to hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. An earlier allocation to Nebraska resulted in $11.7 million being awarded to 5,143 rural applicants and much more to urban areas. Without this second round of funding Nebraska’s ERAP will stop accepting applications on Sept. 30 of this year.

Use of the program during the past year shows that residents, even those living in rural counties, are still recovering from the economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and could benefit from the assistance. 

To safeguard against fraud, the application process for the ERAP requires an applicant to provide proof of identity, a signed rental agreement, proof of income, proof of past rent due or utilities bills along with proof that COVID-19 impacted their income. This funding would go directly to landlords, instead of renters themselves, and a portion can be used to administer housing stabilization programs.This reduces the financial burden on community organizations working to meet the need for rental and utility assistance in their communities.

If a veto override is not successful, Nebraska would join Arkansas in leaving millions of dollars on the table that would help residents of their state for the next three years. 

State senators need to hear directly from their constituents on this important issue. The veto override vote is expected to happen soon, so a call or email to your representative is important.

Click here to find your senator.

If you have any questions please contact me at timm@cfra.org or 402.687.2100 ext.1032. 
 
Sincerely,
Tim Mussack
Senior Policy Associate