Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey recently announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship has $865,000 available through a no-interest revolving loan fund to help farmers install soil and water conservation practices.
The funding is available through all local Soil and Water Conservation District offices in the state, which are located with the USDA office in each county. Loans made under this program can be used to fund conservation practices that protect soil and water resources. Examples include terraces, water and sediment control basins, grade stabilization structures and grass waterways.
"Farmers understand the importance of keeping the soil on the farm and out of our lakes and rivers and the no-interest loans will help them put additional practices on the ground," Northey says. "Local Soil and Water Conservation District offices are there to work with farmers as they make conservation decisions and find programs that can help get the work done."
The maximum no-interest loan available has been increased to $20,000 with a 10- year term
In response to request from farmers, the maximum no-interest loan available has been increased to $20,000 with a ten-year term. Loan funds can also now be used in conjunction with other programs, including REAP and cost share assistance. Applications will be accepted and funded on a first come first serve basis through December 1. To apply, contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District office or apply online.
Updated publication offers facts from food research
In other news, a popular publication on the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture website, "Food Facts", has been updated to include more than a decade of results from marketing and food systems research. The publication offers key findings from 52 research projects either supported by a Leopold Center grant or conducted in-house by our staff or working groups since 2000. Topics covered include Community-Based Agriculture, organic and local food, niche meat, the grape and wine industry, and more.
Some of the findings gathered in the document include:
* Fifty-six percent of the population in eight Midwestern states could be supplied by food production that occurs less than five miles away.
* Conventionally grown carrots, sweetcorn, garlic, onions and spinach all travel at least 50 times farther than locally grown counterparts.
* If Iowa's metropolitan areas consumed fresh fruits and vegetables from the neighboring farms, rather than importing them from other states and countries, there would be a net gain of 343 jobs and almost $40 million in farm-level sales.
"Food Facts" was originally compiled by Leopold Center staff in 2008. The updated resource includes the most recent information available for each research project as well as 11 new projects. It also contains a list of online tools and resources regarding food systems. Find the publication online the Leopold Center website.