biosecurity sign

DES MOINES — The budget proposed by Gov. Kim Reynolds includes additional money for foreign animal disease prevention, among other things.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig asked for an additional $250,000 in the budget for fiscal 2020 for the effort to head off major animal disease issues and to deal with one should it happen. Lawmakers gave the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship $250,000 last year. Reynolds’ proposal would continue that and add another $250,000 to the effort.

The governor’s proposed budget also includes money for the state’s drainage well closure program.

In addition, Reynolds talked in her condition of the state speech about rural economic development, something that wouldn’t directly impact the state department of agriculture, but which would be of interest to many rural Iowans.

“She didn’t talk specifically about some agricultural topics, but the Empower Rural Iowa plan (a rural economic development proposal) and the Future Ready Iowa proposal (a job training program) are welcome. They’re all connected,” Naig said.

Naig, who like Reynolds is a Republican, also said the funding for water quality programs approved by the legislature last year will start with a small figure this year and then gradually increase.

In the short-term, Naig said Jan. 16 the Iowa Department of Agriculture should be able to weather the federal government shutdown for now, but if the shutdown lasts a long time it will eventually impact IDALS and other parts of state government.

Gene Lucht is public affairs editor for Iowa Farmer Today, Missouri Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.