Legislative update

Promoting the irrigation industry through sound policy

By John Farner I

rrigation industry leaders from across the United States converged on our nation’s capital for the Irrigation Association’s annual Washington, D.C., fly-in. Meeting with more than 35

congressional offices and White House officials, irrigation and water policy were front and center as the IA called for policies supporting the advancement of the agricultural irrigation industry.

Irrigation and water policy were front and center as the IA called for policies supporting the advancement of the agricultural irrigation industry.

Led by Julie Bushell, chair of the IA’s Government Affairs Committee and president of Paige Wireless, the attendees specifically focused on the following issues.

Promoting the business of irrigation

Regulatory barriers continue to hinder the ability of irrigation businesses to succeed at maximum potential. Issues such as trade policy, including tariffs, and access to labor are among some of the biggest current hurdles facing irrigation businesses. The IA called on Congress to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, support policies that reduce tariffs on commodities and raw materials, and fund public-private partnership programs that promote careers and training in the field of irrigation.

Improving America’s infrastructure through irrigation technology

While many believe infrastructure only consists of roads, bridges and railways, our nation’s water infrastructure continues to rely on many systems developed in the 1800s. The IA urged Congress to

increase the investment in our nation’s storage, conveyance and end-use technologies to ensure water is efficiently, effectively and productively stored, moved and used at all times.

Implementing the 2018 Farm Bill

Signed into law in December 2018, the farm bill not only enhances the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, but it also significantly increases investments in rural broadband. The IA called on Congress to fund the farm bill at the levels passed in the legislation.

In addition to the congressional and White House meetings, the IA also joined with the National Ground Water Association and the Water Quality Association for the 2019 Water Resources Congressional Summit. During the Summit, attendees heard from U.S. Geological Survey Associate Director of Water Resources Dr. Don Cline, Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan and a congressional staff panel regarding the future of water policy in Congress. The Summit, which brought together approximately 100 water industry professionals, highlighted just how important water is to our national security, personal health and well-being, economy, and food supply.

The IA believes the strongest advocacy comes from its grassroots. The personal and professional stories and messages brought to Capitol Hill make a difference, and we are excited about the ground gained during the two-day fly-in.

The IA looks forward to continuing this grassroots involvement through future member engagement and activities.

John Farner is the government and public affairs director for the Irrigation Association.

8 Irrigation TODAY | April 2019

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