Under the Golden Dome, Too – August 29

Upmeyer UTGD

As summer activities draw to a close, the attention of many families has shifted to the upcoming school year.  The start of the school year means there will be more children walking to and from school as well as increased traffic on our roadways.  Be sure to take extra care when you are out and about in order to keep our kids safe.

A new school year also means that harvest season will be here before we know it.  Iowa farmers will soon return to the fields to do what they do best…help feed the world.  There’s no doubt our state’s economy relies on a successful and robust agriculture industry.  Our farmers have a great appreciation for Iowa’s natural resources and want to ensure our land and water quality is preserved for many years to come.

With this in mind, during the 2013 legislative session, after working with a number of interested parties, we created the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.  This is a voluntary, science-based approach to improving Iowa’s water quality.  Through this program, Iowa farmers have the opportunity to implement a nutrient reduction strategy on their farms that makes sense for the individual operation.

Last year over 1000 farmers across Iowa signed up for the program and implemented new nutrient reduction practices on 100,000 acres of land.  Last month, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced there is currently $1.4 million in cost share fund available for farmers this year.  It came as no surprise that last year’s efforts were so successful.  Iowa’s farmers want to do what is best for the land and future farmers of this state.  I would encourage any farmer who is interested in participating this year to apply for these funds through their local Soil and Water Conservation District office.

In other news, each year Iowa high school juniors and seniors have the opportunity to see first-hand how the legislative process works by becoming a legislative page.  The Iowa House, Iowa Senate, and the Legislative Services Agency each employ pages to help with various duties.

As the House Majority Leader, I am privileged to have my own office page each year.  My page helps me with various duties, including constituent correspondence, answering my phone, and generally helping to ensure a smooth operation.  Pages are paid and most schools grant credit for a student’s work in the Legislature.  Many pages even go on to become clerks, serve in of the Legislature’s offices, work in the lobby, or even become legislators themselves.

I highly recommend this tremendous learning experience.  If you know of a high school student that will be 16 years or older by January 12, 2015 that may be interested in applying, please encourage them to do so!  Applications are due no later than Friday, October 3.  To receive more information or an application, visit: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/Agencies/pageInfo.aspx.

Finally, it was with great sadness that I learned of the recent passing of Warren (Rancher) Sears.  Warren was an incredible Iowan who loved this state and the Clear Lake area.  He worked selflessly during his 93 years to improve his community and never failed to lend a helping hand.  I will remember him most fondly for his salty columns in the local newspaper.  Thank you for encouraging people to think and act salty.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback for me, please feel free to contact me anytime at linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-4618.

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