With spring planting approaching and surrounded by typical Iowa farm features, U.S. Rep. Zach Nunn spoke Friday morning at the Chad Rieck farm south of Creston and offered his insight on the Farm Bill which is revised every five years. This year is the last of a five-year agreement.

“Eighty-percent plus of the Farm Bill is a big ticket item, something very expensive, is going to something we call SNAP,” he said about the food assistance programs. “The reality is 20% of what is left in the Farm Bill is really goes to developing growing securing and making sure our farm communities are successful.”

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Nunn feared the decision makers for the Farm Bill would come from the coasts and not have agriculture experience. But after further discussions, committee members included fellow Iowa U.S Rep. Randy Feemstra and Nunn were appointed to the committee.

“The first thing we did on the subcommittee was push for year-round E15,” Nunn said about the gasoline additive using ethanol. Along with the Lower Energy Costs Act, Nunn has been supportive of renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Nunn recently led a letter sent to President Biden with Feenstra, Rep. Hinson, and Rep. Miller-Meeks to ensure E15 is included in our country’s energy portfolio this summer.

According to the Energy Assistance Directors Association, households are expected to pay the highest energy costs. Specifically, the Lower Energy Costs Act would help to lower rising costs by repealing energy taxes on natural gas use.

Nunn voted in favor of the bipartisan Lower Energy Costs Act. This bill advances energy independence by boosting domestic energy production and removing burdensome regulations to lower the cost of gas and energy bills. The bill also bans China from buying farmland that can be used in energy production.

“Having a country that is energy independent is how we achieve a safer country and stronger economy, which is why I voted in favor of the Lower Energy Costs Act,” he said. “Energy diversity is the best way to lower costs for Iowans and ensure energy independence.”

Nunn also contributes to the committee that works with Chinese trade relations. He said he knows of honest Chinese businesses but fears the influence of the Communist government.

“it’s not just the intellectual property they steal. It’s not the technology they have taken from the U.S. pretending they were in partnership to use and harm against us. It’a s dedicated plan now to be compete with the U.S. particularly in ag to be able to box us out of markets we have been a long time partner and exporter to.”

Nunn said efforts have been made to prevent Chinese owned American farm land.

“All these field out there are rich intellectual property as any data farm in the world,” he said.

Waters of the United States was another topic Nunn listed. This rule also considers the best available science and extensive public comment to establish a definition of “waters of the United States” that supports public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity and economic growth.

Nunn is concerned about the intent the government can have on 96% of Iowa land and “make believe what they think is the correct things.”

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“You can wake up at the beginning of a farm season, do everything you think is right, and something change at EPA and you end up being held liable for it, because you were’t aware later in the year you were out of step with a guidance memo,” he said.

Nunn said the financial sector also plays a part in the Farm Bill.

He used the recent closure of the Silicon Valley Bank in California because of high-risk depositors. Compared to Iowa, its rural banks have about 93% of their deposits backed b the FDIC. Only 4% of Silicon Valley Bank’s deposits were secured. “We have so many local banks doing it the right way,” he said.

The one bank’s problem caused enough national attention and response.

“When the 16th largest bank fails and the U.S. government steps in to make sure it doesn’t cause a a greater catastrophe, it bled out for 48 hours over 22 billion from the FDIC fund.” Nunn said that is about a quarter of the FDIC’s total fund.

Nunn said he is following the Biden Administration to make sure additional taxes or assessments are not created to recover that loss.

Earlier in the week Nunn announced a new bill, named the Fight for Families Act, to incentivize Iowa families to adopt. This bill would financially help low-and middle-income families who want to adopt children that are otherwise difficult to place with families.

As a father of two foster children going through the adoption process, Nunn is familiar with the adoption process. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, there are 4,144 Iowa children in foster care and 1,004 Iowa children awaiting adoption.

“Family is everything to Iowans, and I want to make sure that I’m doing everything in my power to help Iowans who are willing to open their home to disadvantaged children,” said Nunn. “My bill would help low and middle-income families, as well as retirees on fixed incomes, be able to offset costs associated with adopting.”

The bill would amend the Federal Adoption Tax Credit to require the existing $14,890 tax credit be refundable and permanent for families who are adopting:

  • A child who is a citizen or resident of the United States or its possessions when the adoption effort began; and
  • A child who the state determines can’t or shouldn’t be returned to his or her parent’s home; and
  • A child who the state determines probably won’t be adoptable without assistance provided to the adoptive family.

As the code is written now, only high-income families with significant taxes owed can utilize the credit to pay off their taxes. Making the Federal Adoption Tax Credit refundable (and permanent) for families adopting disadvantaged children will allow all families to benefit financially to offset costs.


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