Iowa farmers and landowners can sign up now for 2019 cost-share funds to help install nutrient reduction practices. The funding can be used to offset the cost of cover crops, no-till and strip till, or the use of a nitrification inhibitor — all practices that improve soil health, reduce erosion and improve water quality.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in late May announced the new round of funding. Iowa Secretary of Ag Mike Naig noted, “As Iowans, we must all work together to make measurable progress in our water quality initiatives. The ag community recognizes the value of conservation practices, and we are committed to protecting our natural resources for future generations. The 2017 Census of Ag showed a 256% increase in use of cover crops in Iowa since the 2012 census. We continue building on that success year over year.”
Breakdown of benefits
The amount of funds given depends on a farmer’s stage and practice used:
- Farmers who are planting cover crops for the first time are eligible for $25 per acre through the cost-share program.
- Farmers who have already experienced the benefits of using cover crops and are continuing the practice can receive $15 per acre.
- Growers using no-till or strip till for the first time to reduce soil erosion and input costs are eligible for $10 per acre.
- Farmers using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor to apply nitrogen fertilizer in the fall are eligible for $3 per acre through the cost-share fund.
This cost-share funding, available through the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship, is limited to 160 acres per farmer or landowner. The funds will be made available in July, but farmers can start submitting applications immediately through their soil and water conservation district.
Farmers are encouraged to contact their local SWCD office to inquire about additional cost-share funds available through other sources. Go to iowaagriculture.gov for more information.
2,800 farmers in program
Last fall in Iowa, 2,800 farmers participated in the state cost-share program and invested an estimated $9 million in funding to match the $5 million made available through the state’s cost-share funding. Participants included 1,000 farmers using a conservation practice for the first time and more than 1,800 farmers continuing their conservation practices.
In Iowa, a total of $500 million was invested in conservation practices through public and private partnerships and funding sources during the 2018 reporting period, according to the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy annual report.