Ag Department looking for water quality program participants

(Radio Iowa) – Iowa Agriculture Secretary, Bill Northey, is looking for farmers to participate in water quality programs. One program provides funding to help share the cost of nutrient reduction practices. “Probably the most used of those projects will be cover crops. And these are crops that go on at or just before harvest this fall and grow through the winter and come back again in the spring,” Northey says. “They are really good at holding nutrients from leaving the farm.”

Northey says the funding helps pay for the seed. “It pays 25-dollars an acre for people who have not had cover crops before, and they can apply through the local soil and water conservation district office,” Northey says. He says they also have funding for no-till and strip till farming methods.

The other program involved watershed demonstration projects. “The demonstration projects are targeted to about eight different watersheds around the state. These will be areas where over the next several years we will look at getting a lot of adoption and seeing what kind of difference we can make in these small watersheds in changing the water quality, really improving the water quality,” Northey explains.

The program is only available for farmers who are not already using some type of project. He says they are looking for individuals or organizations that want to put a project together for what would probably be three years.

“We’d look at cost share for conservation practices, may look at how we could do demonstration areas, how we could do field days to let farmers know about these practices,” Northey says. Find out more about the program at the Ag Department’s website at: www.IowaAgriculture.gov.