Cost-share funds for cover crops and radish info

Mix1An article on the Wallaces Farmer website, “Ready For Radishes?”, editor Rod Swoboda reported on the increased use of radish as a cover crop in Iowa. The story includes interviews with ILF farmer partners Seth Watkins and Steve McGrew, along with northwest Iowa farmer Mark Korte, Sarah Carlson with Practical Farmers of Iowa, and others. The article is in-depth and contains data from a 2012 study on using radish as a cover crop for weed control. If you have considered trying radish as a cover crop, this is good information.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced in a news release yesterday of $1.4 million available in cost-share funds for Iowa farmers to aid in water quality improvement.

The news release from the Iowa Department of Agriculture in its entirety:

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced today that $1.4 million in cost share funds are available to help farmers install new nutrient reduction practices.  The practices eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fertilizer.

“We continue to hear from farmers interested in doing even more to limit nutrient loss and better protect water quality and these funds will help them try new voluntary science-based conservation practices on their farm,” Northey said.  “We were extremely pleased by the response last year from farmers and we are excited to have funds available again this year.”

The cost share rate for farmers planting cover crops is $25 per acre and for farmers trying no-till or strip till is $10 per acre.  Farmers using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer can receive $3 per acre.

Any farmer not already utilizing these practices can apply for this assistance.  Farmers are only eligible for cost share on up to 160 acres.  The funds will be made available on Thursday, July 17, but farmers can immediately start submitting applications through their local Soil and Water Conservation District office.

Farmers that have already used these practices on their farm and are ineligible for this funding are still encouraged to visit their local Soil and Water Conservation District office to discuss other cost share funding that may be available.

“By allowing farmers to try new practices on a limited number of acres at a reduced cost we want to showcase the benefits of these practices and encourage farmers to incorporate them into their operation,” Northey said.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received $4.4 million for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in fiscal 2015.  These funds will allow the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to continue to encourage the broad adoption of water quality practices through statewide cost share assistance as well as more intensive work in targeted watersheds.

Last year in just two weeks over 1,000 farmers signed up for cost share funding to help implement new nutrient reduction practices on 100,000 acres.  The state provided $2.8 million in cost share funding was available to help farmers try a water quality practice for the first time and Iowa farmers provided at least another $2.8 million to support these water quality practices.

You may want to apply for cost-share dollars for some cover crop acres with radishes, cereal rye or a mixture, for their many benefits.

-Carol Brown

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