Iowa’s Congressional delegation set to lead on clean energy policies
As we prepare for another planting season, there is no more important conversation in agriculture right now than the reauthorization of the Farm Bill and getting these titles right. The conservation programs being debated in the ongoing Farm Bill negotiations will only enhance opportunities for producers to adopt more climate smart ag practices and be rewarded for doing so. It’s important we have a seat at the table for these important conversations.
I had the honor of chairing the Farmers for Grassley Coalition during the senator’s hard-earned reelection this past year. My family has farmed Iowa land in Calhoun County for several generations and to me it was critical that Sen. Grassley was back in the Senate to champion Iowa agriculture, particularly with the 118th Congress set to update the dozen titles included in the 2018 Farm Bill. I’ve witnessed Sen Grassley play important roles while helping to pass the previous eight Farm Bills during his tenure in the U.S. Senate.
As global market competition and supply chain challenges persist for Iowa’s most important economic sector, I know Sen. Grassley understands the forward thinking required to help secure not only productivity up and down the ag supply chain, but also increase the overall sustainability and resiliency of our farming operations.
For his part, Sen. Grassley has already demonstrated how supporting bipartisan infrastructure policies can help drive investments throughout the state that have and will continue to strengthen our ag sector for years to come. The bipartisan infrastructure law that Sen. Grassley helped pass will bring in $432 million to help repair roads and bridges and update our locks and dams — all critical components to our ag transportation infrastructure. The funding also further incentivizes investment in clean energy generation and electrical grid enhancements across the state.
In addition to an abundance of renewable energy resources from wind to biofuels, Iowa is blessed with some of the best soil in the world with massive carbon sequestration potential. The Growing Climate Solutions Act (GCSA), which both senators Grassley and Ernst were early supporters of, is another example of results driven leadership. Signed into law on Dec. 29, 2022, the GCSA paves the way for continued emission reduction across agriculture while empowering farmers. Its voluntary structure will help farmers adopt more climate-smart agriculture practices while connecting them with growing private carbon credit markets, opening new economic and revenue-generating opportunities across rural Iowa.
Along with thousands of other Iowa farmers, our family has adapted various in field practices over the years from cover crops to no-till, which not only enhance water quality but have proven to sequester considerable amounts of carbon in our soil. The ability to unlock and monetize the carbon sequestering potential of our rich soil is a win-win for our economy and the environment.
Advanced carbon capture and sequestration systems being proposed throughout the Corn Belt present another innovative avenue to decarbonize major parts of our ag economy. 2022 marked the first year where over half of Iowa’s corn crop has gone toward ethanol production — finding innovative ways to lower the carbon intensity in biofuel production will be critical for Iowa ag moving forward. Our biodiesel industry also continues making great strides in lowering emissions throughout our nation’s transportation sector.
The bottom line is Iowa agriculture has tremendous potential to be part of the solution as consumers demand further decarbonization throughout all sectors of the U.S. economy. I encourage our entire federal delegation to work alongside senators Grassley and Ernst and continue supporting sustainable ag and energy policies that will best position Iowa’s economy for prosperity for generations to come.
Bill Horan grows corn, soybeans and other grains with his brother on a family farm based in north central Iowa.