Iowa farmers can get financial assistance to help reduce the cost of installing practices focused on protecting water quality.
Practices eligible for the funding include cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fertilizer.
The cost share rate for first-time users of cover crops is $25 per acre, no-till or strip till are eligible for $10 per acre, and farmers using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when they apply fall fertilizer can receive $3 per acre.
First-time users who apply by July 24 will be the first applications funded.
First-time users who apply after July 24 still will receive priority consideration, but cost share assistance at $15 per acre also will be available to farmers who have used cover crops in the past.
Farmers are eligible for cost share assistance on a maximum of 160 acres.
“We already have $1.6 million in applications from more than 700 farmers interested in doing more on their farm to protect water quality,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey in a news release. “Fortunately, as a result of the significant increase in funding for water quality, we have addition funds available.”
Gov. Terry Branstad has signed into law $9.6 million to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative, which is an increase of $5.2 million from the $4.4 million provided last year.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship also received $6.75 million for conservation cost share, a portion of which can be used on management practices such as cover crops.
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In the two years that the funding has been available, more than 1,400 farmers have installed nutrient reduction practices on more than 144,000 acres. The state provided about $3.4 million to help farmers try a water quality practice for the first time.
Iowa farmers provided $3.4 million to support the water quality practices.