On The Radio: Iowa farmers implementing nutrient reduction strategies for the first time

Farmland in Story County, Iowa. (Karl Wycoff/Flickr)
Farmland in Story County, Iowa. (Karl Wycoff/Flickr)
September 28, 2015

This week’s On The Radio segment looks at new nutrient reduction strategies that some Iowa farmers are implementing for the first time with the help of newly available funding. 

Transcript: Farmers implementing nutrient reduction strategies for the first time

More Iowa farmers are ready to apply nutrient reduction practices for the first time this year.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Earlier this year, the Iowa Department of Agriculture received 1,800 applications from farmers seeking to participate in a cost sharing program to help them implement nutrient reduction strategies. Over half of those farmers will be using a practice – like cover crops and no-till – for the first time.

The $3.5 million in funds will be applied to farmers in each of Iowa’s 99 counties, according to Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. Farmers new to cover crops will receive a $25-per-acre cost share and a $10-per-acre cost share for no-till or strip till.

Cover crops provide a range of benefits by reducing soil erosion and increasing nutrient recycling on farmland.

For more information about nutrient reduction strategies, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.


On the Radio: Nutrient Reduction Strategy

Photo by the United Soybean Board; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers nutrient reduction demonstration projects that are set to help famers better manage harmful farm runoff. Listen to the audio below or continue reading for the transcript.

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Watershed Projects

Photo by Kevin Dooley; Flickr

Eight watershed demonstration projects covering 606,000 acres have been selected to receive $4.1 million in funding through the Iowa water quality initiative over the next three years. Continue reading

2013 Nutrient Management Standard released in Iowa

Photo by Derek Preston; Flickr

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently released the new Iowa Nutrient Management Conservation Practice Standard – the guiding document for implementing nutrient management plans for Iowa farmers.

To learn more, follow the link above, or head over to the National Hog Farmer website.

State of Iowa to use $250,000 in federal funds for E30 “blender” pumps


Photo by Gage Skidmore; Flickr

The State of Iowa will use a $250,000 federal grant to bolster a program that pays gas stations to install “blender” pumps that incorporate a higher percentage of corn-based ethanol in motor fuels. Most Iowa stations offer a 10 percent ethanol blend. Governor Terry Branstad says the goal is to boost usage of a 30 percent blend.

“It’s my understanding that 30 percent is kind of the ‘sweet spot’ in terms of the best fuel efficiency with an ethanol blend,” Branstad says.

Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey says the expanded sale of E-30 will help Iowa maintain its leadership position in the ethanol industry.

To learn more, head over to Radio Iowa.

Northey: Funds Available for Water Quality Practices

Photo by Gage Skidmore; Flickr

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced  that cost share funds are available to help farmers install nutrient reduction practices.  The initial practices that are prioritized for funding this fall are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fertilizer. Continue reading