Aug 21, 2023 | Press Releases

Nunn Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Help Rural Communities Recover from Flood Damage

DES MOINES — U.S. Representatives Zach Nunn (IA-03) and Don Davis (NC-01) today introduced legislation to support rural communities by restoring land quality after devastating natural disasters. The bipartisan Protecting Farmers from Natural Disasters Act would expand the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Emergency Watershed Protection Program to enhance long-term protection of our nation’s watersheds and rural communities. 
“Our country is fed and fueled by the hearts, hands, and hard work of Iowa’s farmers. When natural disasters happen, though, rural communities and farmers are often hit especially hard,” said Rep. Nunn. “Floods and other natural disasters devastate livelihoods in Iowa and have a ripple effect on our nationwide food and fuel supply chain, which is why I’m working to ensure Iowa’s farmers have the tools to extend the health of their land after natural disasters.” 
One third of all crop losses over the last twenty years have been due to flooding or storms. In 2019, Midwestern farmers lost $6 billion in crop sales due to rain. After the 2020 Derecho, Iowa farmers experienced crop losses that cost more than $490 million.  
Currently, the USDA Emergency Watershed Protection Program provides farmers and rural communities with assistance to recover from natural disasters; however, the program will only allow for restoration efforts that return an area to its pre-disaster condition, even if that condition was previously degraded, limiting the success of the program.  
The Protecting Farmers from Natural Disasters Act will allow for restoration efforts above pre-disaster conditions if the restoration is in the best interest of the long-term health and protection of the watershed.  
Rep. Nunn introduced the legislation during a tour of the American Flood Coalition’s flood prevention research site in Guthrie Center, Iowa.  
The text of the legislation is available here