Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced that farmers and landowners can now sign up for cost-share funds through the Water Quality Initiative. The funds can be used to help install conservation practices that improve soil health and water quality, including cover crops, no-till/strip-till practices, or a nitrification inhibitor.
“During these unprecedented times when so many aspects of our lives have been disrupted by COVID-19, the conservation work has continued. There are more farmers and landowners engaged than ever before,” said Secretary Naig. “If you’ve never tried cover crops or conservation tillage, now is the time to get started. The state’s cost-share program will cover some of the initial costs, and we have local technical resources to help you integrate conservation practices into your farm.”
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. 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 who use a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor to apply fall fertilizer are eligible for $3 per acre through the cost-share fund.
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 can start submitting applications immediately through their local Soil and Water Conservation District offices.
Farmers are encouraged to call their local Soil and Water Conservation District offices to inquire about additional cost-share available through other sources.
Last fall, 2,900 farmers and landowners participated in the cost-share program, including 1,200 farmers using the conservation practice for the first time and more than 1,700 farmers continuing the use of conservation practices. An estimated $10.2 million of private funding was invested to match the $6.1 million contributed by the state’s cost-share fund. To learn more about the state’s Water Quality Initiative, visit cleanwateriowa.org.