Farmers can apply for new Iowa soil conservation funds

Farmers can apply for new Iowa soil conservation funds

New state funding announced Feb. 23 will go to conservation research and demonstration projects.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey on February 23 announced that the State Soil Conservation Committee Research and Demonstration Fund has financial assistance available for research, education or demonstration projects focused on reducing nonpoint pollution. Funds are available to collaborative teams of scientists, farmers, institutions, soil and water conservation districts and educators.

Applications must be submitted to the State Soil Conservation Committee by May 20, 2016. A July 1 start date for selected projects is anticipated.

IMPROVE WATER QUALITY: On Feb. 23 the Iowa Department of Ag announced funds are available for soil and water conservation research and demonstration projects focused on reducing nonpoint pollution. Submit applications to State Soil Conservation Committee by May 20.

Projects should be focused on sustaining and improving soil
“Projects should be focused on sustaining and improving the environmental quality of our soil. We all recognize that we still have a lot to learn about protecting and improving our soils and these funds are targeted towards projects that will improve sustainability,” Northey says. Successful projects should be focused on sustaining and improving environmental quality or the natural resource base on which agriculture depends. 

Applications should also explain how the projects would enhance the quality of life for farmers, rural communities and society as a whole. Expected outcomes for the project and how they will assist in working toward these objectives, how project outcomes will be evaluated, and impact of projects, should all be clearly explained in the application.

Focused on better soil conservation, water quality protection
“We are looking for projects that help us continue towards our mission of better soil conservation and water quality protection,” says Dale Farnham, chairperson of the State Soil Conservation Committee.

Funding level for the grant program is established by the State Soil Conservation Committee and it is anticipated that $150,000 will be available this year. Individual grants cannot exceed $50,000 total over a three-year period. The State Soil Conservation Committee has operated this program for several years and there are currently 11 active grant projects.

More information about applying for assistance can be found at IowaAgriculture.gov and then click on “Conservation” at the top of the page.  Interested applicants can also contact Tarrita Spicer with the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship at 515-281-5851 or [email protected].

Iowa ag secretary Northey encourages action on tax coupling
In other news this week, Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey on February 23 issued the following statement on the importance of tax coupling and encouraging the Iowa Senate to take up House File 2092. A summary of this issue from the Center for Agricultural Law & Taxation at Iowa State University can be found at calt.iastate.edu/article/iowa-coupling-unlikely-tax-software-trying-keep.

Northey said: “I encourage the Iowa Senate to take up and pass House File 2092 as soon as possible to avoid an enormous tax increase on thousands of Iowans. I have talked to farmers all across the state who are facing huge, unexpected tax bills if Iowa doesn’t couple with federal tax law. These farmers understandably feel punished for making a significant investment in their farm with the expectation that Iowa would match federal law as they have the last several years. Due to the uncertainty facing taxpayers and tax preparers, I also encourage the Iowa Department of Revenue to extend the farm filing date from March 1 to April 30.”

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