Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig has announced that the 2018 sign-up period is open for statewide cost-share funds to help farmers install nutrient reduction practices. Practices eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fertilizer.
“This program has been very popular with farmers interested in adding water quality-focused practices on their farm. We continue to see farmers and landowners taking on the challenge of improving water quality and this is a great way for them to get started with a new practice,” Naig said.
The cost share rate for farmers new to planting cover crops is $25 per acre ($15 per acre for past cover crop users) and for farmers trying no-till or strip till is $10 per acre. Farmers using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer can receive $3 per acre.
Farmers interested in cover crops who have already used this practice on their farm also are eligible for this funding, but at a reduced rate of $15 per acre. Farmers are only eligible for cost share on up to 160 acres. The funds will be made available in July, but farmers can immediately start submitting applications through their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office.
Farmers also are encouraged to visit their local SWCD office to inquire about additional opportunities for cost-share funding through other programs offered at their local SWCD location.
“We see more and more farmers planting cover crops and this program has been a great tool to help them get started. We encourage farmers to contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District to learn more and sign up to participate,” Naig said.
Last fall, 2,600 farmers signed up to participate in the program and invest an estimated $8.7 million in funding to match $4.8 million in state cost-share funds. Participants included 1,000 farmers using a practice for the first time and more than 1,600 previous users who received a reduced rate of cost share.
In January, the Legislature passed and Gov. Reynolds signed into law SF 512 that provides more than $250 million for water quality efforts in Iowa over the next 12 years. The legislation provides a growing source of funding, starting with $3.9 million next fiscal year and increasing to over $28 million annually. In addition to SF 512, the Legislature provided $10.575 million to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.