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Continuing Resolution Reinstates Federal Funding for Silos & Smokestacks!

According to a statement by the White House Press Secretary, H.R. 933, the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013” was signed into law by President Obama on late Tuesday, March 26. Senator Harkin’s Office confirmed the bill will effectively extend the sunset date for Silos & Smokestacks and 11 other National Heritage Areas (NHA) from September 30, 2012, to September 30, 2013, allowing these Heritage Areas to access 2013 federal funding.

While it’s still uncertain how much funding Silos & Smokestacks will receive, this is a great victory for the Heritage Area movement. The funds will help to bridge the gap as NHAs move towards a more formal structure within the National Park Service (NPS), as part of NHA Program Legislation (HB 4099). Under Program Legislation, each NHA would receive base funding to cover general administration. NHAs would be responsible for raising funds through other sources to cover projects and programs. The NPS has displayed support for the program, with Director John Jarvis speaking out in favor of the NHA approach and proposed NHA Program Legislation.

With the move towards a greater emphasis on private funding, the SSNHA coordinating entity has been diversifying program funds through a combination of individual, foundation and corporate support. Additionally, the SSNHA Foundation was recently established to support the work of the Heritage Area. While SSNHA has been proactive in preparing for NHA Program Legislation and the move toward a more sustainable funding model, continued federal funding is important to making this transition.

These vital funds will allow Silos & Smokestacks to continue important programs dedicated to preserving and sharing America’s agricultural story with millions of people each year. Since federal designation in 1996, the coordinating entity for Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area has educated millions on the importance of American agriculture, while serving as a catalyst for economic development and cultural preservation in the 37-county region. We wish to thank our entire Iowa political delegation for their support!

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