Iowa farmers invest millions on conservation in state cost share program

Iowa farmers invest millions on conservation in state cost share program

Posted Nov. 25, 2014

If you don’t think Iowa farmers care about clean water and protecting natural resources, think again!

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced earlier this month that 2,382 Iowa farmers took advantage of state cost-share funds to install conservation practices during the state’s 2014 fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014.

These farmers contributed $13 million while the state contributed $9.5 million in cost share and administrative support provided by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

A copy of the soil conservation cost-share annual report can be found under the “Hot Topics” section.

“The state cost-share program has been around for more than 40 years and we continue to see very strong demand from farmers and landowners who more than match the state investment to install conservation practices,” Northey said. “Thanks to investments by farmers and the state funds, more than $22 million was used to build conservation structures and adopt conservation practices that prevent erosion and improve water quality.”

The report shows 58 percent of funds used for cost-share supported construction of terraces, 11 percent for grade stabilization structures, 9 percent for grassed waterways, 7 percent for water and sediment control basins and 2 percent for other practices. In addition, 13 percent of the funds supported management practices such as cover crops, no-till and strip-till that reduce erosion.

The report also details how farmers can work with their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) offices to apply for cost-share assistance. Iowa has 100 SWCD offices across the state, one in each county and two in Pottawattamie that set priorities and use the funds to work with farmers that are doing conservation on their land.

The department has more than $6.75 million this fiscal year to help farmers and landowners install conservation practices through the state cost-share program. Conservation practices eligible for assistance through this program include terraces, waterways, ponds, buffers and cover crops among others.

Field office staff with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship partners with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service to assure the technical quality of the practices that are built and help farmers develop conservation plans for their farms.