Dec 20, 2023 | Press Releases

Nunn Introduces Bipartisan Bills to Help Iowa’s Farmers, Improve Environmental Conservation

Ottumwa, Iowa — U.S. Representative Zach Nunn (IA-03) today introduced two bipartisan bills to assist Iowa’s farmers in improving water quality, preventing soil erosion, and protecting critical wildlife habitat. The Conservation Innovation Act, introduced by Rep. Nunn and co-led by U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), will establish an Office of Conservation Innovation within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Streamlining Conservation Practice Standards Act, introduced by Rep. Spanberger and co-led by Rep. Nunn, will strengthen NRCS by providing for increased public input. 
“There is no better steward of our land than farmers,” said Rep. Nunn. “As producers prepare for the future, it’s important they have the tools and resources they need to succeed. No one understands the needs of their land better than farmers, so we must also ensure Iowa’s producers are in the driver’s seat as new conservation practices are developed.”  
According to the USDA, approximately 500,000 farmers across the United States work with the agency to implement conservation practices. Current conservation practices are determined through a process that starts with recommendations through state committees that are then sent to the USDA NRCS.  The process allows for little engagement from stakeholders, such as Iowa’s farmers, and is overly cumbersome. Often, by the time new practices are implemented, the standards use outdated technology and do not keep up with the latest advancements. 

“As the only Virginian on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, I’ve heard from farmers and producers across our Commonwealth who utilize voluntary conservation practices to improve their yields and boost their bottom lines,” said Rep.  Spanberger. “Farmers are constantly innovating to find new best practices to further their conservation goals — but bureaucracy is delaying the approval of these practices that farmers and producers could use to their advantage. By cutting unnecessary red tape and making the process more transparent, our bipartisan bill would help make sure that farmers are able to benefit from the most up-to-date, efficient practice standards.”The two bipartisan bills from Reps. Nunn and Spanberger will address this issue to ensure the most cutting-edge technology is utilized and input from farmers is taken into account: 

  • The Conservation Innovation Act would establish an Office of Conservation Innovation within NRCS to ensure the utilization of the most effective new technology during the revision of current conservation standards and development of new standards. 
  • The Streamlining Conservation Practice Standards Act would require the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to provide a process for stakeholder input on each conservation practice during the review process, review all conservation practice standards on a rolling basis every five years, and establish an expedited review process for new conservation practices. 

Text of the Streamlining Conservation Practice Standards Act can be found here. Text of the Conservation Innovation Act can be found here