Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced the funding of the next-phase of a collaborative water quality and soil conservation project that seeks to increase the utilization of cover crops on seed corn production acres. Partnering with the Iowa Seed Association and their members as well as farmers and landowners, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will provide the next phase of funding to expand the planting of cover crops. Cover crops usage is a proven conservation practice highlighted in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy that helps to conserve soil and protect water quality.
Seed corn production lends itself to an earlier harvest, thereby providing an even larger window for establishing cover crops in the late summer and fall after the acres are harvested. The next 3-year phase of this project, funded at $226,750, will also incorporate edge-of-field (EOF) practice outreach and installations within the statewide network of seed corn producers. More than 30,000 acres are enrolled in the program in 2022 and an estimated one-third of acres utilized for seed corn production in Iowa are now utilizing cover crops.
Background on Iowa Water Quality Initiative
The Iowa Water Quality Initiative was established in 2013 to help implement the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which is a science and technology-based approach to achieving a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to our waters.
The strategy brings together both point sources, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, including farm fields and urban stormwater runoff, to address these issues. The Initiative seeks to harness the collective ability of both private and public resources and organizations to deliver a clear and consistent message to stakeholders to reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality.
More information about the initiative can be found at www.CleanWaterIowa.org.