Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced on August 4, 2014 that more than $6.75 million is available to help farmers and landowners install conservation practices through the state cost-share program. Farmers can contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) offices to apply for assistance of up to 50% of the cost of the project.
"The cost share program is a partnership between the state and local landowners to help get conservation practices on the land that prevent erosion and better protect water quality. Now is the time for farmers to plan ahead and work with the local soil and water conservation district office so they are ready to move ahead with construction of the practices as soon as the crops are out of the field this fall," Northey says.
Iowa has 100 SWCD offices across the state, one in each county and two in Pottawattamie that set priorities and use the funds to work with farmers who are putting conservation on their land. Contact information for each of the SWCD offices can be found at www.iowaagriculture.gov under "Hot Topics."
Check with your local SWCD office to see what's available
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 and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service assure the technical quality of the practices that are built and help farmers develop conservation plans for their farms.
"These funds are a great investment by the state and historically farmers contribute $1.50 for each dollar invested by the state. There continues to be strong interest in the cost-share program, but there are funds available and we encourage farmers to contact their local soil and water conservation district office to discuss options for their farm," Northey says.
At least 5% of this funding will be used to protect public lakes
In addition to the statewide cost share, at least 5% of the funds will be used to protect several publicly owned lakes and cost share in these projects is available for up to 75% of the cost of the project. Eligible lakes are:
* Badger Creek Lake (Dallas SWCD and Madison SWCD)
* Big Creek Lake (Boone SWCD and Polk SWCD)
* Hawthorn Lake (Mahaska SWCD)
* Lake Darling (Washington SWCD)
* Lake Geode (Des Moines SWCD and Henry SWCD)
* Lake Icaria (Adams SWCD)
* Lake Macbride (Johnson SWCD)
* Lake Miami (Monroe SWCD)
* Little River Lake (Decatur SWCD)
* Mariposa Lake (Jasper SWCD)
* Prairie Rose Lake (Shelby SWCD)
* Three Mile Lake (Adair SWCD, Union SWCD)
* Twelve Mile Lake (Adair SWCD, Union SWCD)
A map of the targeted lake projects is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's website.