Posted on 04/20/2018 at 02:33 PM by Iowa Corn
Spring is finally here, although a month later than we would have liked! Farmers are finally getting busy with long-anticipated fieldwork.
While the weather was less than ideal for much of April, Congress managed to get some work done. The House Agriculture Committee passed its version of the farm bill. While this is an important first step, it’s uncertain if there are enough votes in the full House of Representatives for passage. The nutrition title (food assistance), which makes up 80 percent of the bill, is a major area of disagreement.
For the conservation title of the farm bill, a few changes were made. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will expand its national acreage cap from 24 million acres to 29 million acres. To pay for the increase in acres, rental rates would be reduced to 80 percent of county averages and reenrollments after contracts expire would see lower rental rates.
Additionally, the House ag committee proposed merging the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Click here for more information.
The arrival of spring also brings environmental awareness holidays. Last week was Earth Week (I’m not sure when Earth Day became a week). Soil and Water Conservation Week runs from April 29 to May 6 and Source Water Protection Week begins May 6. Iowa Corn is a member of the Iowa Source Water Agricultural Collaborative, which provides support to small communities working with farmers and landowners to protect their community drinking water wells from nitrates. Click here for more information about source water protection.
Testing for nitrates
Iowa Corn has provided nitrate test kits to more than 800 farmers and landowners in the past couple of years. To receive a kit, contact me, Ben Gleason, at Iowa Corn at 515-225-9242 or click here to send me an email. Get a group together for a meeting or let us know about an existing event and we can talk about the kits with you. For more information about the kits, click here.
Iowa farmers Wes Zylstra and Phil Pitzenberger, along with Soil Health Partnership Field Manager Elyssa McFarland, discuss improving the soil through reduced tillage practices.