Water Works CEO reacts to cost-share sign up record

Water Works CEO reacts to cost-share sign up record

CEO of Des Moines WaterWorks Bill Stowe speaks with press on Iowa Supreme Court ruling in lawsuit. Photo Credit: Ben Nuelle

AUDIO: Des Moines Water Works CEO Bill Stowe

Over 2,500 Iowa farmers signed up to install nutrient reduction practices on their farm under the state’s water quality cost-share program. Is that progress?

Earlier this week, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced a record number of Iowa farmers signed up to install nutrient reduction practices on their farm.

“I continue to be encouraged by the growing interest by Iowa farmers in trying practices focused on limiting nutrient loss and improving water quality.  It is great to see 1,000 farmers trying a brand new practice on their farm and 1,600 farmers trying cover crops again at a reduced-rate of cost share,” Northey said.

More than 2,600 farmers signed up to try cover crops, no-till/strip-till or nitrification inhibitor on more than 270,000 acres in 98 counties. 

Des Moines Water Works CEO Bill Stowe says the signup numbers are a move in the right direction but not quick enough.

“Our friends at Iowa State’s school of agronomy have been consistent in saying to reach the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy essentially every acre under cultivation needs to be touched by a conservation practice. The numbers that Secretary Northey and IDALS show nothing close to that.” Stowe adds “Out of roughly 90,000 farmers in Iowa, that get’s us nowhere.”

The state will provide nearly $4.8 million in cost share funds to match the $8.7 million investment by Iowa farmers.

In the past 4 years, the statewide program has been available to over 4,800 farmers, with participants in each of Iowa’s 99 counties. They have put in nutrient reduction practices on more than 455,000 acres.

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