Addition of proven conservation practices on the land will accelerate water quality improvement in our communities
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that farmers and landowners may now sign up for water quality and soil conservation cost share funding as part of the state's Water Quality Initiative (WQI). These funds assist farmers with adopting proven practices, including planting cover crops, transitioning acres to no-till/strip-till or applying a nitrogen inhibitor.
Farmers who are planting cover crops for the first time are eligible for $25 per acre through the cost share fund. Farmers who have already experienced the benefits of using cover crops and are continuing the practice can receive $15 per acre. Producers transitioning acres to no-till or strip-till are eligible for $10 per acre. New users can also receive $3 per acre for utilizing a nitrogen inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer.
"Building on the record engagement and continued strong interest in conservation among farmers and landowners, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is pleased to once again offer an opportunity to share in the cost of implementing these proven practices," said Secretary Naig. "All farmers and landowners should look for opportunities to add more conservation practices and this cost share program is a great way to help with that."
With statewide cover crop utilization at more than 2.8 million acres as of 2021, Iowa farmers continue to be leaders in conservation. Last fall, over 3,900 farmers and landowners enrolled in this cost share program. More than 430,000 acres of cover crops, 14,200 acres of no-till/strip-till and 5,800 acres of nitrification inhibitors were enrolled in the program in 2022. An estimated $14.5 million of private funding was invested to match the $7.5 million contributed by the State.
Cost share funding through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is limited to 160 acres per farmer or landowner. The funds will be made available in July, but farmers may start submitting applications immediately through their local Soil and Water Conservation District offices. Farmers are encouraged to visit with their Soil and Water Conservation District staff to inquire about additional cost share funds available through other programs.
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