WEEK IN REVIEW

December 10 – December 15, 2018

What a week for our farmers, ranchers and rural communities! The Senate and House passed the 2018 Farm Bill, and it’s now on President Trump’s desk for signature. And, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a replacement rule for the burdensome 2015 Obama-era “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.

 

PROVIDING CERTAINTY FOR FARMERS

Senator Ernst was a proud member of the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee, and through her position on the committee, was able to secure key provisions that greatly impact the people of Iowa. For example:

ü  Strengthening the Conservation Reserve and Regional Conservation Partnership Programs

ü  Providing critical mental health for our farmers through the senator’s FARMERS FIRST Act

ü  Supporting our nation’s dairy farmers through a Diary Incentive Pilot Program

ü  Protecting farmers against adverse changes in market conditions by strengthening the Agriculture Risk Coverage-County Level Program

 

 

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ON THE FARM BILL

David Trowbridge, president, Iowa Cattlemen's Association: “The Farm Bill offers crucial certainty for Iowa's cattle producers and farmers. We are encouraged to see ICA's priorities addressed, including authorization and funding of a Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine bank, investment in trade promotion and market access, and reauthorization of key conservation programs. Iowa's cattlemen appreciate the hard work of Congress, especially our own Senator Joni Ernst, to get the Farm Bill over the finish line before the holidays."

Lindsay Greiner, president, Iowa Soybean Association: “Iowa soybean farmers congratulate members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and the Farm Bill Conference Committee for passing a new farm bill. We also recognize Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst for her leadership on the conference committee in helping craft this important legislation.”

Mike Naig, secretary, Iowa Department of Agriculture: “A new five-year Farm Bill will provide needed certainty and predictability for farmers in what has been a very volatile and challenging time. I commend the efforts by leaders in both the House and Senate, including Sen. Ernst who was a conferee, to finalize the agreement and get it passed. I encourage President Trump to sign the bill into law quickly so farmers can know what federal policy will be as they continue to plan for the 2019 growing season.”

Mitch Schulte, executive director, Iowa State Dairy Association: “The Iowa State Dairy Association (ISDA) thanks the House and the Senate for passing a farm bill that includes much needed reforms to dairy programs that will boost producer incomes in a tough economic environment…It is critical for our dairy industry and our representatives to work together during these difficult times. The ISDA thanks Senator Joni Ernst along with the House and Senate for passing a Farm Bill that will have a positive impact on the dairy industry.”

Curt Mether, president, Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA): “Iowa Corn welcomes the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill before the start of the new year. ICGA is pleased to see there were no cuts to the current crop insurance program and a continuation of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) … All of these programs are crucial to the success of Iowa’s corn growers and we thank our grower members for your efforts in urging lawmakers to reach a deal before the New Year.”

Tim Palmer (Truro, IA), president-elect, National Association of Conservation Districts: “…As a fellow Iowan, I particularly appreciate the commitment Senator Ernst made to our home state throughout these farm bill negotiation. Ernst recognizes, as NACD does, that successful implementation of on-the-ground conservation is possible through conservation districts and the locally-led conservation model. Investing in conservation is an investment in the nation’s future, and this agreement continues to make that a priority.”

                

ROLLING BACK THE 2015 WOTUS RULE

Taking the Obama Administration’s flawed WOTUS rule off the books has been one of Senator Ernst’s top priorities. In 2015, she introduced legislation to nullify the rule. With help from many of her congressional colleagues, the lawmakers got this legislation to President Obama’s desk – only for him to veto it. That setback didn’t stop them from pushing forward.  The new proposed WOTUS rule will establish clear and reasonable definitions of what qualifies as “WOTUS.” Iowa’s farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and small businesses can now breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that, going forward, a tire track that collects rain water won’t be regulated by the federal government.

 

MAKING ‘EM SQUEAL

The U.S. Forest Service has an extensive history of mishandling the repeated claims of sexual assault and harassment within their agency.  For example, earlier this year, Tony Tooke, the former chief, was accused of multiple sexual misconduct allegations, resulting in his resignation.  Furthermore, multiple women have filed class-action lawsuits against the Forest Service, shedding light on the inadequacy of the agency’s culture. During a recent Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, Senator Ernst worked to get to the bottom of not just why sexual misbehavior was happening but continuing to happen at the U.S. Forest Service.  For this reason, this month’s Squeal Award goes to the U.S. Forest Service for allowing taxpayer dollars to subsidize sexual misconduct within its ranks.

 

 

BRINGING IOWA TO WASHINGTON

Every Thursday, Republican Senators take turns hosting lunch for their colleagues highlighting products and traditions from their home states. This week, Senator Ernst hosted and provided “fare from the Iowa State Fair.” The Des Moines Register characterized it by saying, “Joni Ernst hosted a State-Fair themed lunch and it’s the most Iowa thing ever.” Included in the menu, were:

 

Hot Beef Sundaes

         

Iowa Pork Chops

 

Ice Cream from LeMars, IA

 

Loaded Tater Tot On-a-Stick

 

Mexican Street Corn

 

Butter Cows with Rolls

          

COMMUNICATING PRIORITIES