Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today requested for the Water Quality Initiative. The $7.5 million per year $7.5 million for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in a public meeting with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds as part of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017 budget requests.
This request puts funding at the level of support sought for the soil conservation cost share program, or Iowa Financial Incentives Program (IFIP), over the next two years. “… This request is designed to allow us to continue to build on the initiative. Funding water quality and soil conservation efforts at equal levels will allow us to continue the exciting work taking place in both of these critically important programs,” Northey said.
The Department received $4.4 million for the current fiscal year requested would allow the Department to continue offering cost share statewide to farmers trying new water quality practices, expand work in targeted watersheds to achieve measurable water quality improvements, and develop new programs to help engage all Iowans in water quality efforts.
Northey also requested $7.5 million for conservation cost share for each of the next two fiscal years. For over four decades, Iowa’s soil conservation cost share program has encouraged the adoption of conservation structures and practices to protect and preserve our state’s natural resources. In the meeting with Branstad, Northey also requested $1.92 million in both fiscal 2016 and 2017.
The above story is based on materials obtained from Clean Water Iowa Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
The first year that prairie strips were strategically planted configurations in 12 sloping fields. One treatment is all corn or in corn and soybean fields near the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, they worked to reduce loss of nutrients that can impair water quality, says Matt Helmers, an agricultural and biosystems engineer at Iowa State University.
“Things like plant diversity — the diversity of the prairie — have changed over time, evolved and enhanced,” Helmers said. “But water quality, we saw real benefits right from the beginning. It was surprising. We weren’t sure we’d see dramatic benefits.”
Those dramatic benefits Helmers and other researchers discovered: Converting just 10 percent of a crop field into prairie could reduce by 95 percent the soil and sediment leaving the field. Phosphorus loss decreased by 90 percent, and nitrogen loss by 85 percent. And the prairie created a habitat for pollinators, birds and animals.
Researchers are looking at four different row crow and prairie configurations in 12 sloping fields. One treatment is all corn or soybeans, another is 10 percent prairie at the foot of the slope, another adds a few prairie strips to the field with prairie at the foot, totaling 10 percent prairie, and the last adds strips to the foot slope, totaling 20 percent prairie.
About a dozen state and federal conservation and agricultural agencies are participating in the project, including the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. With Iowa under pressure to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that enters the state’s waterways and eventually contributes to the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone, Helmers talked about how the research program — officially called Science-based Trials of Row-crops Integrated with Prairie Strips — fits into the state’s plan to reduce water pollution.
The above story is based on materials obtained from the Des Moines Register by Donelle Eller. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
The new farm bill ushered in a new safety net, and beginning this past Monday, producers and landowners have the chance to formally select which of two new risk management programs they want to their operation. Producers can consider the Agricultural Risk Coverage program (ARC), or the Price Loss Coverage program (PLC) until March 31st of next year.
Farm Service Agency Administrator Val Dolcini says there’s a few steps along the way, “It started with letters we sent to producers in the summertime, saying that you have to come in and reallocate your base acres; the second decision will be to elect which program, and the third part of that will be to sign up for those programs, and then we’ll make payments in the fall of 2015.”
Dolcini says there are a lot of online tools, as well as universities like Iowa State doing workshops and seminars around Iowa to help educate farmers about the programs and what they mean.
He says the decision is worth thinking over, “As harvest ends in Iowa and parts of the Midwest, I think farmers need to look at the letters the FSA sent them in the summer time. Get into their county offices, and get into that process of reallocating base acres. And updating their yields Then in conversation with their business advisors and friends, and family, and colleagues…”
The above story is based on materials obtained from WHO-TV. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
On December 10, 2014, the American Seed Trade As part of the survey process, consumer were told that seed Association unveiled the results of a new survey that focused on consumer perception around seed and seed improvement.
“The agriculture industry recognizes the significance of seed innovations and that many things which improve the quality of our lives can be traced back to the seed,” said Andy LaVigne, ASTA president and CEO. “But when we reach beyond the agricultural community, we realize we have work to do in educating people about the value of seed and seed improvements. Our research results revealed that the work of the seed industry is generally undervalued among educated consumers. Yet, those same consumers believe that the role of technology in agriculture is important and vital.”
Lavigne explained that when time was spent with the consumers surveyed and additional information shared regarding the specific benefits seed improvements, consumers began to show increased appreciation in understanding the impact of seed improvements and innovation.
Improvements can do some of the following:
The survey target millennials, moms and foodies. Among those groups, positive impressions increased by 18 percent, 13 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
“These are all extremely encouraging results as we move forward with our messaging,” LaVigne said. To build upon the survey results, LaVigne announced that ASTA will undertake a three-year communications effort to reach consumers about the importance of seed improvement. “Our hope is to increase awareness among consumers about the diversity of the seed industry…” Lavigne commented.
The above story is based on materials obtained from Seed World by Julie Deering. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length