Farm Progress

Ag partnerships continue to demonstrate momentum, helping each other improve Iowa’s water quality.

January 30, 2017

3 Min Read
COST-SHARE: IPPA will provide up to $25,000 per farm to offset up to 50% of costs for pig farmers to install saturated buffers or bioreactors on their farmland.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association is partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to offer additional cost-share dollars to pig farmers for installing new nutrient loss reduction technologies that will improve and protect water quality. The announcement was made last week at the 2017 Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines.

Through this program, IPPA will provide up to $25,000 per farm throughout the next year, to offset up to 50% of costs for pig farmers to install saturated buffers or bioreactors on their farmland. Sites will be selected based on greatest opportunity for nitrate reduction and they will be geographically dispersed throughout the state to aid in education and demonstration opportunities. 

Bioreactors, saturated buffers new practices
“Bioreactors and saturated buffers are new edge-of-field practices that have been developed to address water quality. This $25,000 investment will help us install them at sites across the state so we can continue to demonstrate to farmers how bioreactors and saturated buffers may be able fit on their farm,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “I greatly appreciate the Iowa Pork Producers Association for making this significant investment. This is another great example of ag groups in Iowa stepping up to help improve water quality.”

Participating producers will be asked to share their information and experiences with other farmers through IPPA and IDALS programs.  

Pig farmers interested in the program can submit basic farm information for project consideration online. For more information, contact Tyler Bettin at IPPA at 800-372-7675 or send an email to [email protected]. Or contact Matt Lechtenberg at IDALS at 515-281-3857 or [email protected].

“We are happy to partner with IDALS to offer this cost-share program and also the technical assistance,” says IPPA President Curtis Meier, a pig farmer from Clarinda in southwest Iowa. “While these water quality practices are not specific to pork production, our leaders have recognized the importance of enhancing assistance to install and build awareness of these exciting new edge-of-field technologies.”

This new offering from IPPA builds on its additional efforts supporting the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, including cover crop research, field day support and educational outreach.

“Iowa Pork Producers Association members have established policy supporting the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and have committed their own pork checkoff investments to support efforts that can aid in neighbor relations and improve the quality of our natural resources,” says Meier. “By supporting the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, enhancing the Water Quality Initiative’s efforts and building upon increased cooperation with the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, there is a strong momentum and opportunity within our commodity organizations and with other groups to drive progress for continuous improvement and adoption of water quality protection practices.”

Swine manure aids soil
The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy science assessment cites an average 4% reduction in nitrate loss and up to 46% reduction in phosphorus loss when using swine manure as a nutrient source compared to commercial fertilizer. Applying manure also has positive impacts on soil organic carbon, soil structure and runoff. University research shows efficiencies of modern pork production enabled pig farmers to reduce water use 41%, land use 78% and the carbon footprint 35% from 1959 to 2009.

Pig farmers meet state and federal government requirements for certification to apply manure. They apply manure based on the use of their officially approved manure management plans and crop’s nutrient needs.

“It is already against the law for manure from any confinement to reach a body of water,” says Gregg Hora, IPPA’s environmental committee chairman and a Webster County pork producer. “Even with this regulation, pig farmers have a long-standing commitment to soil and water conservation. That commitment is for continuous improvement and the use of collaborative efforts to build on Iowa’s sustainable production model and optimization of manure as a fertilizer resource.”

Source: Iowa Pork Producers Association


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