Additional water quality funds available to Iowa farmers

Additional water quality funds available to Iowa farmers

Posted March 4, 2015

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced this week that funds are available for projects focused on implementing and demonstrating innovative delivery of practices to protect water quality.

Funding is available statewide, but projects in the nine priority watersheds identified by the Water Resources Coordinating Council will receive priority consideration.

Projects should encourage the adoption of practices that improve water quality while conducting education and outreach efforts that promote broader adoption by farmers. Applications should focus on practices identified in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy that have the greatest impact on reducing nutrient loss, such as bioreactors, saturated buffers, wetlands, buffer strips and cover crops.

“We continue to look for new opportunities to engage even more farmers in the ongoing water quality efforts. These funds are focused on supporting projects that will put the water quality practices included in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy on the ground in combination with outreach activities to farmers and landowners in their area and show how these practices might fit on their farm,” Northey said.

Projects should include concentrated efforts to demonstrate conservation practices paired with strong outreach components to circulate information on these practices and promote increased awareness and adoption of available practices and technologies to reduce nutrient loads to surface waters. Successful projects will serve as local and regional hubs for demonstrating conservation practices and providing practice information to other farmers and/or landowners.

“The science assessment in the strategy shows that adjusting fertilizer rates and timing alone won’t achieve our ambitious water quality goals, we need to also incorporate broader adoption of innovative practices focused on improving water quality. Some of the practices are quite new to many farmers, and these projects will help educate farmers and encourage them to consider how they could use them on their farm,” Northey said.

Soil and Water Conservation Districts, watershed groups and other non-governmental organizations are eligible to submit applications. Applicants will be able to seek up to three years of funding for a project, with the possibility of future extensions depending on funding availability and project performance.

The deadline to apply is April 10, 2015. Application guidance can be found at under “Hot Topics” or can be requested by contacting the department’s Division of Soil Conservation at (515) 281-5851.

The announcement of projects selected to receive funding will take place by the end of April, with June 1 as the scheduled start date.