Iowa Updates: September 2020 | Pesticide Action Network
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Iowa Updates: September 2020

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As 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.

Iowa updates

Derecho recovery continues: Iowans are sharing their stories from the August 10 derecho and its aftermath. Many rode out the storm in vehicles, under heavy equipment, or in the closest ditch they could find. Once the adrenaline had subsided, survivors began the difficult process of recovery. Typically, neighbors would answer the call for help — but what happens when everyone for miles around also needs help?

Since the initial request for public disaster assistance, 16 of 27 counties submitted for Federal aid now have been approved. Individual federal assistance can be applied for by residents, farms, and businesses in 11 of those 16 counties. The amount of funding available is far less than the original $4 billion requested by the governor.

People on a fixed income, those who are without jobs and those who work, but are not receiving a living wage, are struggling right now. Iowans need to continue to look out for each other.


National updates

PACTPA provides hope for change: Proposed federal legislation was introduced in early August that would address many of the current shortcomings in pesticide regulation and enforcement. Current law favors the pesticide industry over the health and safety of people and the environment — this new proposal would change that.

The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA) would ban organophosphate insecticides, neonicotinoid insecticides, and paraquat herbicides (among other updates to pesticide enforcement). These classes of pesticides have been shown to be dangerous, but their use is currently allowed. This proposal would put mechanisms in place to make it possible to remove an approved product once evidence is gathered to show that it is not safe. This proposal would also close loopholes that allow for conditional registrations, such as the disastrous approval granted for over-the-top application of dicamba products on soybeans.

This is an opportunity to restore balance to a regulatory system that doesn’t prioritize people and the environment. The process for this legislation is in the earliest stages and we will keep you informed as it progresses.


Farmers and science

Options for cover crops in derecho damage: Fields with damaged corn may provide an opportunity for more farmers to explore the benefits of cover crops. In addition to providing short term soil protection, cover crops have been shown to improve water infiltration, nutrient recycling, and soil organism diversity. Since much of Iowa was also experiencing drought in 2020, cover crops that scavenge nitrogen might have specific benefits that could help with future growing seasons.

A cover crop can only be established if seeds can make contact with the ground, and if those seeds have access to moisture and light once they make that contact. Practical Farmers of Iowa helped conduct some farmer-led research to determine which field conditions would be conducive to aerial seeding of cover crops in corn fields. Results seemed to indicate that this could be accomplished in all but fields where corn stalks were snapped and the remainder of the plant was flat on the ground, preventing seed from making contact with the soil.


Upcoming events

Start your day on September 18th with Coffee and Cover Crop Economics from 7:30 to 8:30 AM, brought to you by Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Are you curious about beekeeping? The Center for Rural Affairs is hosting a webinar on this topic September 24 from 6 to 8 PM.

Take a virtual native plant tour with Tom Rosburg (Drake) on September 15 from 11 am to 1pm. Sponsored by the Tallgrass Prairie Center.

Iowa Farmers Union presents a Regenerative Agriculture Lunch and Learn series from 12:30 to 1 PM on Sept 17, 24 and Oct 1. Each session features a different speaker.


Take action

Many who are impacted most by pesticide misuse and derecho storm damage are also experiencing adverse effects of efforts to dismantle the postal service. Small farms are receiving dead chicks; veterans are not getting their medications on time; micro-businesses no longer have a reliable delivery service. Tell your senators that we must save the postal service!

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