Iowa makes new water quality funds available

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Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that $1.4 million in cost share funds are now available to help farmers install new nutrient reduction practices.

Cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fertilizer are the eligible practices.

“We continue to hear from farmers interested in doing even more to limit nutrient loss and better protect water quality and these funds will help them try new voluntary science-based conservation practices on their farm,” Northey said. “We were extremely pleased by the response last year from farmers and we are excited to have funds available again this year.”

The cost share rate for farmers planting cover crops is $25 per acre 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.

Any farmer not already utilizing these practices can apply for this assistance. Farmers are only eligible for cost share on up to 160 acres. The funds will be made available on Thursday, July 17, but farmers can immediately start submitting applications through their local Soil and Water Conservation District office.

Farmers that have already used these practices on their farm and are ineligible for this funding are still encouraged to visit their local Soil and Water Conservation District office to discuss other cost share funding that may be available.

“By allowing farmers to try new practices on a limited number of acres at a reduced cost, we want to showcase the benefits of these practices and encourage farmers to incorporate them into their operation,” Northey said.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received $4.4 million for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in fiscal 2015. These funds will allow the department to continue to encourage the broad adoption of water quality practices through statewide cost share assistance, as well as more intensive work in targeted watersheds.

Last year, in just two weeks, more than 1,000 farmers signed up for cost share funding to help implement new nutrient reduction practices on 100,000 acres. The state provided $2.8 million in cost share funding to help farmers try a water quality practice for the first time and Iowa farmers provided at least another $2.8 million to support these water quality practices.


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