In support of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, Secretary of Ag Bill Northey announced today that cost share funds are available to help farmers install nutrient reduction practices. The initial practices that are prioritized for funding this fall are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fertilizer. Iowa is among the first to introduce a formal nutrient reduction strategy, but all states along the Mississippi River have been directed by the EPA to devise a statewide strategy to reduce the flow of N&P to the Gulf of Mexico.
"These funds are available to help farmers take steps this fall to reduce nutrient losses," Northey said. "This is the first step of implementing the Iowa Water Quality Initiative and we have a lot more work to do, but we are excited to start working with farmers to get voluntary science-based conservation practices on the ground."
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. Growers are eligible for cost share on up to 160 acres in this introductory year and any Iowa farmer not already utilizing these practices can apply for assistance.
"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 $3 million in one-time funding to support statewide science-based water quality practices. The Department has set aside up to $1.8 million that will be available to support these practices this fall. The funds can be used over the next five years and it is anticipated additional rounds of funding will be available that will include assistance for additional nutrient reduction practices, including buffers, bioreactors, wetlands, and others listed in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
Farmers can contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District office to apply.
Photo credit: D. Michaelsen, Inputs Monitor