A $10 million USDA-funded water quality project in Iowa is moving faster than anticipated.
“We have an additional $35 million in non-federal match for that project. This is a five-year project. We just got our numbers back for our first year of implementation. We helped get conservation practices in place on 1.5 million acres in the first year,” Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance Executive Director Sean McMahon says.
IAWA co-leads the effort with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
Nineteen agribusinesses and commodity groups are also involved.
McMahon says they are ahead of the pace of the five-year project.
Over the last 35 years, across the corn belt, McMahon also says farmers have increased their fertilizer use efficiency by 105 percent.
“More and more farmers are using the right form of fertilizer, at the right place, right rate and right time. It is what we call the four R’s of nutrient stewardship. But for other practices like cover crops, no/till and strip till the value proposition isn’t quite as immediate or robust,” McMahon says.
He says that is one area “we need to better communicate the value proposition to farmers”.
The Midwest Agriculture Water Quality Partnership began August 27, 2016.