REMINDER: FARMERS ENCOURAGED TO APPLY NOW FOR COST-SHARE FOR COVER CROPS, NO-TILL/STRIP-TILL AND NITRIFICATION INHIBITOR Assistance available through Iowa Water Quality Initiative
DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today reminded Iowa farmers that funds are available to help install practices focused on protecting water quality. Practices eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fertilizer.
The cost share rate for first-time users of cover crops is $25 per acre, no-till or strip till are eligible for $10 per acre and farmers using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer can receive $3 per acre. Farmers are eligible for cost share on up to 160 acres.
First-time users that apply by July 24 will be the first applications funded. First-time users that apply after July 24 will still receive priority consideration, but funds will also be made available to farmers that have used cover crops in the past for cost share assistance at $15 per acre.
“We already have $1.6 million in applications from more than 700 farmers interested in doing more on their farm to protect water quality. This includes first-time uses of cover crops as well as farmers who have tried them before and are willing to do even more,” Northey said. “Fortunately, as a result of the significant increase in funding for water quality, we have addition funds available. I hope interested farmers will contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District soon to learn more about the assistance that is available.”
Farmers are also encouraged to visit their local Soil and Water Conservation District office to inquire about additional opportunities for cost share funding through other programs offered at their local SWCDs.
The cost share assistance was announced on May 12. Since then, the Governor has signed into law $9.6 million to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative, which is an increase of $5.2 million from the $4.4 million provided last year.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship also received $6.75 million for conservation cost share, a portion of which can be used on management practices such as cover crops.
In the last 2 years this program has been available, over 1,400 farmers put in new nutrient reduction practices on over 144,000 acres. The state provided about $3.4 million in cost share funding to help farmers try a water quality practice for the first time and Iowa farmers provided at least another $3.4 million to support these water quality practices.
Background on Iowa Water Quality Initiative
The Iowa Water Quality Initiative was established in 2013 to help implement the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which is a science and technology based approach to achieving a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to our waters. The strategy brings together both point sources, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, including farm fields and urban stormwater runoff, to address these issues.
The initiative seeks to harness the collective ability of both private and public resources and organizations to deliver a clear and consistent message to stakeholders to reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality.
In addition to statewide cost share, 16 targeted Water Quality Initiative demonstration watershed projects have been funded to help implement and demonstrate water quality practices. The state has provided $7.4 million in funding to support these projects and has leveraged an additional $11.7 million in additional funding from partners and landowners. More than 95 organizations are participating in these projects.
Nine Urban Conservation Water Quality Initiative Demonstration Projects have also been funded. The state has awarded $655,194 in funding and partners and landowners participating in the projects will provide $2.43 million to support urban conservation efforts.
Where to sign up
You will need to visit your local Soil & Water Conservation District. Not sure where that's at? Go to https://goo.gl/uh0ZPn and choose your county to get your district's contact info and address.