Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today released the following statement thanking Governor Branstad for including $2.4 million in fiscal 2014 and $4.4 million in fiscal 2015 for the agriculture water quality initiative. Northey requested the funding to support implementation of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. More information about the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy can be found at www.nutrientstrategy.iastate.edu.
“Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds have been strong supporters of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and I appreciate them including funding to move forward with implementing some of the needed water-quality focused conservation practices in their budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. These funds, if approved by the legislature, will be used to educate farmers about the positive water quality impacts of a number of on-farm conservation practices and support the construction of these practices with cost share funding.”
The Department’s proposal for the agriculture water quality initiative would provide $575,000 for marketing and outreach, $1,675,000 for water quality initiative cost share and $150,000 for staffing in fiscal 2014.
The marketing and outreach funds would allow the Department to strategically collaborate with farm groups, environmental groups, the Water Resources Coordinating Council (WRCC), the Watershed Planning Advisory Council (WPAC) and other stakeholders to promote and implement conservation practices. This would include statewide outreach through farmer to farmer interactions and broad based communications to education farmers and encourage participation in voluntary water quality initiatives.
The water quality initiative cost share will focus on providing funds that will be matched by farmers or land owners to implement practices identified as being the most effective in nutrient reduction and improving water quality. The targeted scientifically-based practices include proper nutrient application, conservation tillage, wetlands, bio-reactors, no-till, cover crops, buffers and drainage water management. Targeted watersheds will be identified to implement these practices and further evaluate their effectiveness.