Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Ag, has announced that $3.5 million in cost share funds have been obligated to 1,800 farmers in each of Iowa’s 99 counties. The funds come from the Iowa Water Quality Initiative, which was established in 2013 to address the problem of reducing nitrogen and phosphorous in the water. Practices that were eligible for this program are; cover crops, no-till or strip till, or use of a a nitrification inhibitor for fall fertilizer.
“Farmers continue to show they are willing to invest in practices focused on limiting nutrient loss and improving water quality. To consider that this program went from zero to more than 1,800 farmers over the past three years shows that farmers are committed to action and willing to invest in water quality,” Northey said.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received applications covering 187,000 acres from more than 1,800 different farmers seeking to participate in the program. Farmers in each of the 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state received funding.
Participants include 980 farmers using a practice for the first time and more than 830 past users that are trying cover crops again and are receiving a reduced-rate of cost share. The first-time users cover 79,000 acres of cover crops, 7,450 acres of nitrification inhibitor, 7,150 acres of no-till and 3,950- acres of strip-till. The past users will use cover crops on nearly 89,500 acres.
The Iowa Department of Ag is encouraging famers to continue to keep in contact with their local Soil and Water Conservation District offices to hear about other programs that may be available.