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Overwhelming farmer response to new Iowa water quality initiative

Posted Aug. 28, 2013

Nearly 1,100 farmers to try new practices on 120,680 acres
Iowa farmers have submitted applications for the $2.8 million in cost share funding that has been made available to help implement new nutrient reduction practices on their farm, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced yesterday.

The funds were available to help farmers try new practices targeted at protecting water quality and the state funds could not be more than 50 percent of the total cost of the practice, so Iowa farmers will be providing at least another $2.8 million to support these water quality practices.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received applications covering 120,680 acres from 1,096 different farmers seeking to participate in the program. That includes 109,415 acres of cover crops, 7,321 acres of nitrification inhibitor, 2,675 acres of no-till and 1,268 acres of strip-till. Farmers in 97 of 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state received funding.

“Iowa farmers are very conservation minded. The tremendous response to this program shows again that they will respond voluntarily when presented with science-based solutions to conservation challenges,” Northey said. “It is exciting that nearly 1,100 farmers were willing to put their own money towards trying new practices aimed at protecting water quality and improving soil health.”

Farmers are encouraged to still reach out to their local Soil and Water Conservation District office as there may be other programs available to help them implement these voluntary, science-based water quality practices on their farm.

Only farmers not already utilizing the practice were eligible to apply for assistance and cost share was only available on up to 160 acres. The cost share rate for cover crops was $25 per acre and was $10 for farmers trying no-till or strip till. Farmers using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer were eligible to receive $3 per acre.

“This has been a great kickoff to our water quality initiative and we look forward to continuing to work with farmers to put more practices on the ground to better protect water quality here in Iowa and down-stream as well,” Northey said.

The department received $3 million in one-time funding to support statewide science-based water quality practices over the next five years and has now committed $2.8 million to support these science-based practices this fall.

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