This week, Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture announced the availability of statewide funds which helps farmers to install modern nutrient reduction practices.
The practices which are eligible for this funding include strip till or no till, use of cover crops and using a nitrification inhibitor to apply fertilizer.
These water quality practices are aimed at reducing the amount of fertilizer run off which takes place especially under normal conditions, therefore impacting negatively on water quality.
Last week, algae blooms was experienced in Lake Erie because of the huge supply of phosphorous which were washed off the nearby farms to the lake, therefore contaminating the water.
“The response to this low cost fund is that farmers are always committed to the use of science based, voluntary practices that are aimed at water and soil conservation as well as enhancing water quality,” said Northey in a news release.
“In just less than a week, farmers from Iowa committed themselves to raising an amount to match the state’s investment to the tune of $1.4 million in the best water practices which commences this fall”
The Iowa’s department of agriculture received applications from 597 farmers who wanted to take part in the program. The total acreage held by the farmer’s is59, 883 covering strip till, no till, nitrification inhibitors and crops in varying acreages.
Farmers who are spread across 90 out of the 100 soil- conservation districts in Iowa received the low cost funds to help them take part in this program. All the funds were given to farmers in less than five working days.
However, farmers who were already adopting the best practices specified were eligible for the cost share and assistance up to 160 acres maximum.
The cost share rate for cover crops is $25 for cover crops and $10 for strip till and no till respectively. However, farmers who were using nitrification inhibitors to apply the fertilizers would get $3 for every acre.
However, the farmers were advised to reach out to their local chapters of water and soil conservation because there could be other programs which can help implement these best practices.
The Iowa’s Department of Agriculture received $4.4 million for water quality practices and support for the fiscal year 2015.
Last year, the state government provided more than two million eight hundred thousand dollars in funding to assist farmers engage in best water quality practices for the first time. At the same time, the farmers provided an equal amount.