ANKENY – The Iowa Soybean Association, with the support Gov. Terry Branstad, is offering the nation’s first voluntary nutrient reduction strategy plan. Branstad’s proposal calls for $2.4 million in fiscal 2014 and $4.4 million in fiscal 2015 for the agriculture water quality initiative.
“This funding signals a positive step in moving this strategy into a workable plan for our farmers,” said Roger Wolf, ISA director of environmental services. “We hope the Legislature agrees with the recommendations offered by the department of agriculture. When it comes to financial support, we recognize that there are many competing interests that need to be balanced and we’re happy to see water quality on the list of priorities.”
The funding will provide support for marketing, outreach and a water quality initiative cost share program that will be matched by farmers or land owners to implement targeted conservation practices ranging from conservation tillage to bio-reactors to cover crops.
Mark Jackson, ISA president and farmer from Rose Hill, looks forward to seeing the plan put into action.
“Iowa soybean farmers have voiced their support for this strategy. The science for this plan is solid and we need to move forward now with support for funding from this Legislature,” Jackson said. “This is a comprehensive plan that needs both the input and support of everyone involved in agriculture. The effort to improve water quality needs to be holistic and inclusive. This first step is encouraging.”
The nutrient reduction plan’s public comment period is open through Friday, Jan. 18, and Jackson encourages all farmers to offer their input and insight.
In addition, Branstad’s budget proposal included funding for bioeconomy research and an initiative supported by AgriScope. AgriScope is supported by AgSTATE, an association that includes the Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa State University, several commodity groups and co-ops. The initiative is designed to support research and innovation to strengthen Iowa’s agricultural production and value-added endeavors.