DES MOINES - Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey Thursday announced the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has filed an emergency rule change that includes cover crops as an eligible practice under the Iowa Financial Incentives Program (IFIP), which is commonly called cost share. Cost sharing assistance is limited to $25 per acre for the establishment of the cover crop.
"We have seen growing interest in cover crops in recent years as a means to control erosion and reduce loss of nitrates, and with the drought this year and potential for an early harvest, we wanted to make this practice available to farmers," Northey said. "Farmers interested in taking advantage of this assistance should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District office for more information."
Research has shown that cover crops can be an effective management tool to control erosion from wind and water and reduce the potential for nitrate to leach into our surface waters and ground waters. Nitrate transport to streams can be particularly high after a drought period, when stressed crops may not have used all available fertilizer, or in times of excessive moisture.
It remains up to each individual Soil and Water Conservation District as to whether they will offer cost share assistance for cover crops. And, in order to quality for cost share, the practice must meet NRCS specifications.
Although this rule change is in effect now, there is still an opportunity for public comment on the rule. Any interested persons may submit written comments on or before 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 11. Written comments should be addressed to Margaret Thomson, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Wallace State Office Building, 502 East Ninth Street, Des Moines, IA 50319. Comments may also be submitted by fax to (515)281-6236 or by E-mail to Margaret.Thomson@IowaAgriculture.gov.