On behalf of Iowa’s corn farmers, we applaud our partners, the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) and Illinois Corn for receiving Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) co-led the Iowa application. These projects will provide Iowa corn farmers with additional tools to accelerate adoption of conservation practices to improve soil health and water quality.
Combined, these two programs will make available millions of dollars to support Iowa’s water quality and conservation efforts. IAWA and IDALS received $9.5 million in federal funds leveraged by $4.75 million in state funding ($2.5 from IDALS and $2.25 from Iowa DNR) and $33 million from the private sector. This project will focus on priority watersheds in Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska. Iowa, Illinois and Kentucky will receive $5.3 million. Created and funded by Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Pork Producers Association, IAWA’s mission is to accelerate the pace and scale of quantifiable water quality improvements in Iowa.
The Illinois Corn grant for $5.3 million will offer farmers in Iowa, Illinois and Kentucky tools to apply precision conservation technology to their farm business decision making. Each project has over 30 partner organizations, leveraging tremendous private sector investments.
The programs meet Iowa Corn’s goal of protecting and improving crop land, water, and natural resources and will help implement Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Iowa Corn will have an integral role in helping to launch and implement these two projects.
These partnership initiatives are built upon the strong history of collaboration in Iowa among organizations representing government, growers, non-profit, economic development, and higher education. They will help leverage private sector precision agriculture tools to deliver conservation and water quality improvement. As a farmer, I am working every day to improve soil health and to leave this land better than when I started farming it. Programs like this will help provide better educational tools and resources for adoption of conservation and water quality practices.
We also recognize and thank NRCS and USDA for helping direct Farm Bill funding to conservation practices where they can be most effective.
IAWA Midwest Agriculture Water Quality Partnership
The Midwest Agriculture Water Quality Partnership, co-led by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA), will engage farmers and help scale-up the water quality efforts in targeted watersheds within the North Raccoon, South Skunk, Lake Red Rock, Middle Cedar and Upper Cedar watersheds.
Illinois Corn Precision Conservation Management
The Precision Conservation Management (PCM) project will engage agricultural producers to not only increase on-farm conservation work, but to make conservation an integral part of daily farm management. The project partners believe that conservation should be considered an asset vital to the long-term health of the farm and are dedicated to using precision conservation, farm recordkeeping, and results monitoring to prove the value of conservation to producers.
Sustainability Program Manager
Iowa Corn Growers Association