House File 2528 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1providing for a best farming practices disclosure form
2to be completed, signed, and filed by the parties to a farm
3lease, and providing penalties.
1   Section 1.  Section 161A.3, Code 2022, is amended by adding
2the following new subsections:
3   NEW SUBSECTION.  8A.  “Farm lease” means an oral or written
4lease including a lease described in chapter 562, if all of the
5following apply:
   6a.  The land subject to the lease is to be used for farming,
7regardless of whether lease payments are on a fixed rent,
8commodity share, or other basis.
   9b.  A soil and water conservation practice could be
10established on the land using cost-share moneys allocated
11under section 161A.73, regardless of whether the commissioners
12considered allocating cost-share moneys to establish a soil and
13water conservation practice on the land.
14   NEW SUBSECTION.  15.  “Water quality practice” means any
15practice that limits sediment or nutrients from being conveyed
16by surface water runoff or leaching, as identified in the Iowa
17nutrient reduction strategy as defined in section 455B.171.
18   Sec. 2.  NEW SECTION.  161A.67  Farm lease — best farming
19practices disclosure form.
   201.  Before entering into a farm lease, the parties to
21that lease shall complete and sign a best farming practices
22disclosure form which shall be deemed to be an addendum to the
23farm lease.
   242.  The best farming practices disclosure form shall include
25all of the following:
   26a.  A description of erosion control practices, soil and
27water conservation practices, and water quality practices as
28approved by the committee and established by rules adopted by
29the department.
   30b.  A statement that the parties to the farm lease have
31elected to include or not to include any of the practices
32described in paragraph “a” as part of the farm lease.
   333.  The parties may use a best farming practices disclosure
34form prepared by the parties or any other person, if the form
35satisfies the requirements of the commissioners of the district
-1-1where the statement is filed. However, the committee shall
2adopt a model best farming practices disclosure form that may
3be filed in any district. The commissioners shall not file
4a best farming practices disclosure form unless it has been
5completed and signed by the parties. The filed best farming
6practices disclosure form shall continue until the termination
7of the farm lease unless the parties otherwise agree.
   84.  a.  If the farm lease covers farmland located in more
9than one district, the requirements of this section are
10satisfied if the best farming practices disclosure form has
11been filed with the commissioners of any of those districts.
12The commissioners of the district where the farmland is located
13shall notify the commissioners of the other districts of the
   15b.  If a best farming practices disclosure form has not been
16filed with the commissioners of any district where the farmland
17is located within thirty days after the lease has been entered
18into by the parties, the commissioners of that district shall
19send a written warning to the parties by ordinary mail stating
20that the form must be completed and signed by the parties, and
21filed as provided in this section, within thirty days of the
22date that the warning was delivered.
   23c.  If a best farming practices disclosure form has not
24been filed with the commissioners of the district thirty days
25after the delivery of the warning described in paragraph “b”,
26the commissioners shall report that fact to the division,
27and the division shall recommend to the committee that the
28committee impose a civil penalty on one or both parties. The
29committee may order one or both parties to pay a civil penalty
30for the amount recommended by the division or a different
31amount. However, a party shall not pay a civil penalty of more
32than five hundred dollars for failing to file a best farming
33practices disclosure form. The moneys shall be collected by
34the department and deposited into the conservation practices
35revolving loan fund established pursuant to section 161A.71.
   15.  This section does not authorize the commissioners of a
2district or the department to enforce a provision in a farm
3lease or a best farming practices disclosure form.
4   Sec. 3.  Section 161A.71, subsection 1, Code 2022, is amended
5to read as follows:
   61.  The division may shall establish a conservation
7practices revolving loan fund composed of any money
8appropriated by the general assembly for that purpose, moneys
9collected from civil penalties imposed pursuant to section
and of any other moneys available to and obtained
11or accepted by the committee from the federal government
12or private sources for placement in that fund. Except
13as otherwise provided by subsection 3, the assets of the
14conservation practices revolving loan fund shall be used only
15to make loans directly to owners of land in this state for the
16purpose of establishing on that land any new permanent soil
17and water conservation practice which the commissioners of
18the soil and water conservation district in which the land is
19located have found is necessary or advisable to meet the soil
20loss limits established for that land. A loan shall not be
21made for establishing a permanent soil and water conservation
22practice on land that is subject to the restriction on state
23cost-sharing funds of section 161A.76. Revolving loan funds
24and public cost-sharing funds may be used in combination for
25funding a particular soil and water conservation practice.
26Each loan made under this section shall be for a period not
27to exceed ten years, shall bear no interest, and shall be
28repayable to the conservation practices revolving loan fund in
29equal yearly installments due March 1 of each year the loan is
30in effect. The interest rate upon loans for which payment is
31delinquent shall accelerate immediately to the current legal
32usury limit. Applicants are eligible for no more than twenty
33thousand dollars in loans outstanding at any time under this
34program. “Permanent soil and water conservation practices”
35has the same meaning as defined in section 161A.42 and those
-3-1established under this program are subject to the requirements
2of section 161A.7, subsection 3. Loans made under this program
3shall come due for payment upon sale of the land on which those
4practices are established.
6The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
7the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   8This bill amends the “soil conservation districts law” (Code
9chapter 161A) administered by the division of soil conservation
10and water quality (division) which is part of the department
11of agriculture and land stewardship (DALS) with the state soil
12conservation and water quality committee (committee) housed
13within DALS (Code section 161A.4). The state is divided into
14100 soil and water conservation districts (districts) with each
15district governed by a group of five elected commissioners
16(Code section 161A.5).
   17The bill provides that before entering into a farm lease,
18the parties to that lease must complete and sign a best farming
19practices disclosure form (form) to be part of the lease as
20an addendum. The form must include a description of erosion
21control practices, soil and water conservation practices,
22and water quality practices as approved by the committee and
23established by rules adopted by DALS. The form must then be
24filed with the commissioners of the district where the land
25is located and continues in effect until the farm lease is
26terminated unless otherwise agreed by the parties. The bill
27provides for the enforcement of the filing requirement. The
28commissioners must deliver a written warning to the parties
29providing the parties 30 days to comply. If the parties do not
30comply with the filing requirement, the commissioners report
31that fact to the division which recommends an enforcement
32action to the committee. A party cannot pay a civil penalty of
33more than $500 for failing to file a form. Moneys collected by
34DALS are deposited into the conservation practices revolving
35loan fund (Code section 161A.71).