The future of a viable cattle industry in Iowa took a major step forward on Tuesday, May 26 when Governor Culver signed Senate File 432 into law.

The bill updates an antiquated section of The Iowa Code which assumed that confined feeding facilities only handled liquid manure, and modernizes it to cover the new deep-bedded confinement facilities that have become popular in recent years. More importantly to many operations, the bill does not restrict the application of solid manure to frozen and snow-covered ground as was proposed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC).

"During winter months cattle producers use considerable amounts of bedding materials such as corn stalks and straw which have to be removed from pens and buildings, particularly following snow events," said Kent Pruismann of Rock Valley, President of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association (ICA).

"This dirty bedding needs to be applied to farmland and adds organic matter as well as nutrients that can be used by crops" Pruismann continued. The original DNR/EPC proposed rules in many years could have disallowed the application of these resources late into the year which would have negatively impacted nutrient management as well as impacting potential crop yields.

More than 700 ICA members attended the six field hearings held by the DNR in March. "Not that we had doubts, but by their participation our members sent a very clear signal of the importance of this issue to their businesses," observed Pruismann. The Iowa Cattlemen's Association along with the Iowa Pork Producers Association drafted legislation to address the onerous DNR regulations, and are appreciative of the many Senators and Representatives that supported Senate File 432 which ultimately passed both the Iowa House and Senate by overwhelming majorities.

By passing this legislation and signing it into law, Senators, Representatives and Governor Culver sent a clear message that they understand the importance of livestock to Iowa's future. "The bill does restrict the application of liquid manure to frozen and snow-covered ground, and proves that a choice does not have to be made between livestock production and environmental protection," said Pruismann.

Several ICA leaders were on hand at the Capitol for the bill signing and to thank Governor Culver for signing this measure into law. Its effective date is July 1, 2009.

Source: Iowa Cattlemen's Association