Iowa Legislature Invests to Protect Soil, Water Quality

Kelly MarshallGovernment, Water Management

iowa-ag-deptIowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey shared the Iowa Legislature’s continued commitment to farmers in protecting Iowa’s soil and water resources. The Legislature has approved $9.6 million to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.   This initiative is a science and technology based approach to achieving a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to water.  The legislation is now in the hands of Governor Branstad.

“Farmers have greatly increased their financial commitment to improving water quality in recent years and I appreciate our state’s leaders doing the same. Iowa is a model nationally for the progress that can be made on this important issue. These funds will allow us to continue to expand our water quality efforts and engage more Iowans,” Northey said.

The funds will allow the Department to continue to offer cost share statewide to farmers trying new water quality practices, continue work in targeted watersheds to achieve measurable water quality improvements, expand urban conservation efforts, and develop new programs to help engage all Iowans in improving water quality.

In addition to the funds approved for the Department for water quality, $1.35 million was also provided to the Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State University to evaluate the performance of current and emerging nutrient management practices and help develop new practices. Iowa State also received a $1.23 million appropriation for a three-year pilot project to work in partnership with agriculture retailers to quantify infield activities focused on improving water quality.

The Initiative has proven successful in the two years since it’s implementation. More than 1,600 farmers have implemented strategies and invested $4.2 million on their farm to better protect water quality over the past two years.