SOIL CONSERVATION: Naig says state continues to grow conservation efforts
By Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture
As I reflect over the past year, 2019 presented Iowans with many challenges due to weather conditions, yet we continue to build momentum and make progress in our efforts to improve water quality and soil health.
My goal as secretary of agriculture has been to continue our culture of conservation throughout the state of Iowa. Thanks to great leaders, additional funding and strong partnerships, our state continues to make progress on conservation.
As you drive through rural and urban areas in Iowa, you’ll see new conservation practices on the landscape that improve both water quality and soil health.
Each year, farmers are seeding more fields with cover crops and adopting practices such as wetlands, while cities are working to incorporate infiltration-based technologies with infrastructure improvement projects.
These partnerships are great examples of farmers and communities working together to achieve our collective water quality improvement goals.
When the Water Quality Initiative started in 2013, we focused on eight demonstration projects. We now have over 84 projects across the state today with 30 new wetlands under development and additional dollars being invested each year.
More funding allows conservation practices and projects to be implemented faster than ever. Iowa has a record number of cover crop acres planted across the state — almost 1 million acres were planted last fall.
Additionally, state funded-cost share statistics show that fall 2019 is our best quarter ye. Over half of the district offices reported their participation numbers are above average for all state cost share programs.
These programs give assistance to farmers who implement practices on their land. Interest in the program continues to increase each year, even with challenging economic conditions and weather struggles. This shows the dedication and care that farmers have for our natural resources and the next generation.
Iowa farmers working in conjunction with our conservation partners will continue to innovate and implement effective practices to improve soil health and water quality at an increased rate each year.
My team will continue to work with you to find solutions and create a culture of conservation, rather than regulation. Thank you all for playing a role in Iowa’s efforts to improve water quality. Your passion and commitment to work side by side with conservation partners and landowners will be essential to our future success.