Iowa farmers signed up to add new soil and water conservation practices on more than 314,000 acres in 2014 with planning and financial assistance through USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Through two of USDA's most popular conservation programs (the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP, and the Conservation Stewardship Program, or CSP) Iowa farmers will install best management practices such as terraces, grass waterways, no-till, animal waste facilities, rotational grazing systems, cover crops and nutrient and pest management to their farms. These practices can help reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, enhance soil health and productivity, and provide wildlife habitat.
Overall, Iowa farmers received more than $27 million in conservation funding in fiscal year 2014 through EQIP and CSP. About one-third of the 2014 EQIP contracts (357) went to Iowa farmers to seed cover crops over the next three years, which will cover about 111,000 acres. Beginning farmers received about $5.5 million through 198 new program contracts.
EQIP is locally developed plans fixing local resource concerns
Iowa NRCS obligated nearly $22.8 million to Iowa farmers through 1,085 contracts covering about 113,000 acres through EQIP, a voluntary conservation program that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality. Through EQIP, farmers can choose from a conservation practice list developed at the county level to treat local resource concerns.
More than 10% of Iowa's EQIP funding went to historically underserved landowners, which includes socially disadvantaged, beginning and limited resource producers.
EQIP leaders by the numbers:
• 5,714: Acres treated with conservation practices in Floyd County
• $2 million: EQIP funding for Dubuque County
• 63: EQIP contracts in Dubuque County
CSP program takes soil conservation to the next level
In 2014, Iowa NRCS obligated more than $4.5 million through 436 CSP contracts covering 201,208 acres. CSP is a voluntary conservation program encouraging producers to comprehensively address resource concerns by undertaking additional conservation activities while improving, maintaining and managing existing conservation activities. CSP pays participants for conservation performance: the higher the performance, the higher the payment.
CSP leaders by the numbers:
• 24: CSP funded contracts in Winneshiek County
• $250,130: Amount Buena Vista County landowners received in CSP funding
• 10,491: Acres treated in Jackson County through CSP
For more information about Iowa NRCS conservation programs, visit www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ (See attached maps for specific county information.)