Branstad, Reynolds and Northey highlight statewide water quality efforts

Branstad, Reynolds and Northey highlight statewide water quality efforts

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad announced this week that $3.8 million in cost share funds to help over 1,900 farmers install nutrient reduction practices have been obligated to farmers in 97 counties.

Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Sec. of Agriculture Bill Northey joined Branstad in making the announcement at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 15 during the governor’s weekly press conference.

The practices that were eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer.

“We understand the importance of improving our state’s water quality,” said Branstad.  “This summer, we have been all over the state to see firsthand the more than 150 organizations and the thousands of farmers that have been collaborating to improve the state’s water quality through the science-based Nutrient Reduction Strategy.  It’s evident that everyone has a role to play in improving our water quality and we look forward water quality funding being a focal point of discussion in the upcoming 2017 legislative session.”

The over 1,900 farmers includes 900 farmers using a practice for the first time and more than 1,000 past users that are trying cover crops again and are receiving a reduced-rate of cost share. As a result, the $3.8 million in state funds will be matched by nearly $6 million from Iowa farmers investing to try these water quality practices.

The first-time users cover 80,000 acres of cover crops, 4,800 acres of nitrification inhibitor, 6,600 acres of no-till and 1,900 acres of strip-till. The past users will use cover crops on nearly 110,000 acres.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received applications covering over 200,000 acres from more than 1,900 different farmers seeking to participate in the program. Farmers in 98 of the 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state signed up to participate.

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 water quality practices on their farm.