Following the recent storms and flooding, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig highlighted the $7.8 million that is available through the state conservation cost share program to help farmers and landowners install conservation practices. Farmers can contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) offices to apply for assistance of up to 50 percent of the cost of the project.
“The frequent, heavy rainfall we have been seeing can help identify areas where additional soil conservation practices are needed. We encourage farmers or landowners to contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District office for more information about cost share assistance that is available,” Naig said. “Now is an ideal time for farmers to plan ahead so they are ready to move ahead with construction of the practices as soon as the crops are out of the field this fall.”
The Iowa conservation cost share program has been in place for more than 40 years and is a partnership between the state and local landowners, with both parties cover the cost of a building or installing a conservation practice.
Conservation practices eligible for assistance through this program include terraces, waterways, ponds, buffers, cover crops, and several other conservation practices.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship also has funds available for practices targeted towards improving water quality. Practices eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fertilizer.
“There are funds available and we encourage farmers to contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District to learn more about the programs and to sign up to participate. These funds are a great investment by the state and historically farmers contribute $1.50 for each dollar invested by the state,” Naig said.
Iowa has 100 SWCD offices across the state, one in each county and two in Pottawattamie, that set priorities and use the funds to support farmers who are implementing conservation practices on their land. The offices are co-located with the USDA Service Center in each county.
A full directory for each of the SWCD offices can be found at https://idals.iowa.gov/FARMS/index.php/districtMap.
In addition, 5 percent of the appropriation for soil conservation cost share goes towards protecting the water quality of publicly owned lakes in Iowa. Cost share in these areas is available for up to 75 percent of the cost of the project. Hickory Grove Lake is one of the eligible lakes.
For more information, contact Dustin Vande Hoef, 515-281-3375 or 515-326-1616 (cell) or Dustin.VandeHoef@IowaAgriculture.gov.