From Rep. Linda Upmeyer –
Summer festivals have drawn to a close, which are a really fun part of this job. As we settle into the fall season, our attention turns to harvest time.
There are many reasons I’m proud to call myself an Iowan. At the top of this list is the role our state plays in feeding the world. It’s no secret that Iowa’s agriculture industry is the backbone to our economy. Therefore, our farmers care about preserving Iowa’s greatest assets, our natural resources, for future generations to use and enjoy.
Over the past several months, Iowa farmers have stepped up in a big way to do just that. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey recently announced that nearly 1100 farmers from across the state have committed to voluntarily participate in a program targeted at improving Iowa’s water quality.
Thanks to the initiative and leadership of Iowa’s farmers, Secretary Northey, and the Legislature, this past session we passed the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy- a voluntary, science-based approach to improving Iowa’s water quality. As of the beginning of September, 1,096 Iowa farmers had submitted applications for $2.8 million in cost-share funding to help implement new nutrient reduction practices on their farms.
In developing the legislation, our intention was to provide farmers with the opportunity to choose whether or not participating in this type of program would make sense for their individual operation. Ensuring this type of flexibility would allow the greatest number of farmers to examine options that would best fit their needs, while improving our water quality.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture has received applications from across Iowa covering 120,680 acres. This includes 109,415 acres of cover crops, 7,321 acres of nitrification inhibitor, 2,675 acres of no-till, and 1,268 acres of strip-till. Further demonstrating the broad range of participation is the fact that farmers in 97 of Iowa’s 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts will partake in the initiative.
I was not at all surprised by the incredible response from Iowa’s farmers in regards to this opportunity. Our farmers are good stewards of the land, they’re conservation-minded, and want to do their part to protect our natural resources. I commend them for volunteering for this program and encourage any others who may be interested to contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District office about remaining opportunities.