Iowa Updates: January 2021 | Pesticide Action Network
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Iowa Updates: January 2021

Rob Faux's picture

Iowa is one of the states in which PAN does on-the-ground campaign work.  We send out regular updates on PAN and partners' work in Iowa and beyond — from pesticide-related science to opportunities to take action. If you'd like to receive these updates via email, sign up here.

The Iowa Legislative Session is underway, and PAN’s Iowa team is working to assess how we can best participate in the process.  With the ongoing pandemic, there are adjustments to be made to navigate contact with lawmakers.  

On the positive side, contact with legislators for most interested parties will not require a trip to Des Moines, as it often has in the past.  For those who are unable to make these trips, the pandemic may actually provide us with an opportunity that we have not had to participate and make change.  Even if you live in Keokuk, Decorah, Atlantic, or Spencer — you have equal access with persons who might live closer to the capitol building.

I would like to encourage you to take a moment and familiarize yourself with the options that exist for participating in Iowa’s law-making process.  I have included links below to some of the bills that we see as positive steps forward.  You and I can make a difference by paying attention to these pieces of legislation and by making our opinions known. We’ll keep you posted on ways to engage as the session progresses.

We are hopeful that last year’s bill tasking IDALS with creating an online reporting tool will find enough support to pass this year after a near-miss last year.  We also note that bills to ban neonicotinoids and dicamba have been introduced, and another bill we are watching would put the money collected for pesticide applicator licenses into the Pesticide Bureau’s budget, rather than the general fund.

We have an opportunity to make changes now.  You and I can build a foundation that will lead us toward our vision of an Iowa filled with a diverse and healthy landscape populated by people with a positive connection to this land we call home. 

State legislative Updates

Online Drift Reporting

Together with our partners, we were able to move forward legislation that would have increased access to drift reporting via an online portal — up until the point the legislature was forced to shut down due to the pandemic this spring.  We are pleased to report that there is sponsorship in the legislature for an online drift reporting bill for the 2021 legislative session. We are not yet aware of the bill number that is to be attached to this legislation and will keep you updated when we know more.

Pesticide Bureau Funding

SF 601 will move funds collected for pesticide applicator licenses from the General Fund to the Pesticide Bureau.  Securing this funding could provide more stability for the Pesticide Bureau staff, who are often overwhelmed with chemical drift reports.  We will continue to monitor this bill and determine if the wording is favorable for supporting improvements in drift response by the bureau.

Ban on Neonicotinoids

A new bill (SF 52) was introduced that would ban the sale of the dangerous pesticides that are known to harm our pollinator populations.  A significant portion of our state’s seed is coated with these products, despite independent research suggesting it doesn’t provide benefit to a farmer’s bottom line.

Ban on Dicamba

Despite the documented damage dicamba has left in its wake, the EPA re-registered these products for use.  This bill (SF 66), would ban these products from use in Iowa starting in 2022.  Dicamba drift has been limiting farmer choice in seed types, crop types, and is promoting the development of weed resistance.

Upcoming events

Practical Farmers of Iowa continues its series of Winter Farminars on Tuesdays.  The next couple of events will focus on pasture-raised pork and grazing cover crops.

The Lunch and Learn series hosted by the Iowa Farmers Union will feature Barb Stewart’s discussion of conservation planning on January 28 at 12:30pm.

A series titled “Growing Organic Expertise in Iowa” will feature workshops hosted via Zoom throughout the months of January and February.  These events are hosted by the Iowa Organic Association.

Iowa Learning Farms host regular webinars at midday on Wednesdays.  The next topic is a preliminary report for the rural drinking water survey in Iowa which will be held on January 27.

Build the vision together

You can be a part of helping build the vision for agriculture and food systems in Iowa.  I would like to encourage you to encourage an interested friend to join you in receiving Iowa News and other PAN publications.  Point them to this link to sign up!.

Rob Faux
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Rob Faux

Rob Faux is PAN’s Communications Associate for Iowa, joining the organization in 2020. He has owned and operated the Genuine Faux Farm near Tripoli, Iowa with his spouse, Tammy, since 2004, growing produce and raising poultry for local sales. They are committed to sustainable growing practices and have maintained organic certification since 2007. In a former life, Rob worked as a software engineer and a post-secondary educator in Computer Science.