Ag Partnerships Continue to Demonstrate Water Quality Momentum

Ag Partnerships Continue to Demonstrate Water Quality Momentum

Tyler Bettin, State Public Policy Director
Iowa Pork Producers Association
(800) 372-7675

Dustin VandeHoef, Communications Director
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
(515) 281-3375


(CLIVE, Iowa) — The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) is partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to offer additional cost share dollars to pig farmers installing new nutrient loss reduction technologies.

Through this program, IPPA will provide up to $25,000, throughout the next year, to offset up to 50 percent of costs for pig farmers to install saturated buffers or bioreactors on their farm land. Sites will be selected based on greatest opportunity for nitrate reduction and be geographically dispersed throughout the state to aid in education and demonstration opportunities.

“Bioreactors and saturated buffers are new practices that have been developed to address water quality, so this $25,000 investment will help us install them at sites across the state so we can continue to demonstrate to farmers how they may be able fit on their farm,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said. “I greatly appreciate the Iowa Pork Producers Association for making this significant investment. This is another great example of ag groups in Iowa stepping up to help improve water quality.”

Participating producers will be asked to share information and experiences with other farmers through IPPA and IDALS programs.

Pig farmers interested in the program can submit basic farm information for project consideration at For more information, contact Tyler Bettin at IPPA at (800) 372-7675 or or Matt Lechtenberg at IDALS at (515) 281-3857 or

“We are happy to partner with IDALS to offer this program and technical assistance,” said 2017 IPPA President Curtis Meier, a pig farmer from Clarinda. “While these practices are not specific to pork production, our leaders have recognized the importance of enhancing assistance to install and build awareness of these exciting new edge-of-field technologies.”

This new offering from IPPA builds on its additional efforts supportive of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, including cover crop research, field day support and educational outreach.

“Iowa Pork Producers Association members have established policy supporting the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and have committed their own Pork Checkoff investments to efforts that can aid in neighbor relations and improve the quality of our natural resources,” said Meier. “By supporting the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, enhancing Water Quality Initiative efforts and building efforts with the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, there is a strong momentum and opportunity within our commodity organizations and others to drive progress for continuous improvement and practice adoption.”

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy science assessment cites an average 4 percent reduction in Nitrate loss and up to 46 percent reduction in Phosphorous loss when using swine manure as a nutrient source compared to commercial fertilizer, while also having positive impacts on soil organic carbon, soil structure and runoff. Research from the University of Arkansas shows that efficiencies of modern pork production enabled pig farmers to reduce water use 41 percent land use 78 percent and carbon footprint 35 percent from 1959-2009.

“Manure management is regulated in Iowa. Pig farmers meet requirements for certification to apply manure and do so based on Manure Management Plans and crop needs. It is already against the law for manure from any confinement to reach a body of water,” said IPPA Environmental Committee chair and Webster County pork producer Gregg Hora. “Even with this regulation, pig farmers have a long-standing commitment to continuous improvement and collaborative efforts to build on Iowa’s sustainable production model and optimization of manure as a fertilizer resource.”

Editor’s Note: Sec. Northey and IPPA President Meier will be available for media interviews on the new cost share from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25, in the Iowa Pork Congress media room at the Iowa Events Center.