Partnership Day Connects Conservation With Legislators

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As a way to help members of the Iowa Congress learn about conservation, legislators met with conservation agencies and soil and water commissioners at the State Capitol on Tuesday as part of the annual Conservation Partnership Day.

With nearly a $100 million fewer funds in the Iowa budget, the decrease in funding proposal for water quality is about $1 million, which is a 4.25 percent drop.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says the partnership day is a great opportunity for people in the countryside working on conservation and water quality to get their message out.

Northey says, "To be able to meet with legislators and policy makers, to be able to describe what they're doing to be able to talk about how the investment that the state has made is making a difference, but also how future investments will get used as well and the additional needs that are out there."

At the event, Iowa District 65 House Representative Liz Bennett talked to some of the agencies.

She thinks water quality is one of the top issues facing Iowa and says voters in her district have asked her for more information. Bennett was at the event to learn about the conservation opportunities to make decisions, find out what policies she would support, and inform her constituents back in Cedar Rapids.

She says, "I think that even in urban areas, people are really thinking about our soil and our water here in Iowa because these are things that we're proud of, things that support our economy and I think there's an awareness that we really need to be working together to preserve these resources for future generations."

Agencies there say its important to let legislators know there's a good return on the dollars spent on water quality.

It also gives them a chance to explain the rural perspective according to Madison County Soil and Water Commissioner Tim Palmer, "It's just giving them the understanding that we're people out on the land, commissioners are locally elected. There's five in every county in Iowa. We have volunteer assistant commissioners, people that have been commissioners in the past. And every land farm in Iowa is different."