Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says 2,382 Iowa farmers used state cost share funds to install conservation practices during the state's 2014 fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. These farmers contributed $13 million while the state contributed $9.5 million in cost-share and administrative support provided by the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship.
A copy of the soil conservation cost-share annual report can be found www.IowaAgriculture.gov under the "Hot Topics" section.
Farmers more than match state's $9.5 million investment
"The state cost-share program has been around for more than 40 years and we continue to see very strong demand from farmers and landowners who more than match the state investment to install conservation practices," Northey says. "Thanks to investments by farmers and the state funds, more than $22 million was used to build conservation structures and adopt conservation practices that prevent erosion and improve water quality."
The report shows 58% of funds used for cost-share supported construction of terraces, 11% for grade stabilization structures, 9% for grassed waterways, 7% for water and sediment control basins and 2% for other practices. In addition, 13% of the funds supported management practices such as cover crops, no-till and strip till that reduce erosion.
Over half of cost-share funds are used for terraces
The report also details how farmers can work with their local Soil and Water Conservation District offices to apply for cost share assistance. Iowa has 100 SWCD offices across the state, one in each county and two in Pottawattamie. They set priorities and use the funds to work with farmers who are doing conservation on their land.
The state ag department has more than $6.75 million this fiscal year to help farmers and landowners install conservation practices through the state cost-share program. Conservation practices eligible for assistance through this program include terraces, waterways, ponds, buffers, cover crops, and several other conservation practices.
Field office staff with the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship partner with USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service to assure technical quality of practices that are built and help farmers develop conservation plans for their farms.