AMES, Iowa. — Farmers in Iowa can now get cost-share and technical support for implementing edge-of-field conservation practices on their land. Practical Farmers of Iowa’s new conservation cost-share program supports farmers and landowners interested in creating native habitat for wildlife, improving water quality and building soil health.
Eligible practices include prairie strips (buffer strips), precision conservation, oxbow wetlands and pollinator habitat. Enrollment is now open and interested farmers and landowners are encouraged to apply.
“This is a valuable resource for farmers and landowners wanting to create a more resilient landscape,” says Brad Woodson, PFI’s habitat viability manager. “Participants do their part in creating habitat and improving water quality while increasing their own land’s viability.”
PFI developed this cost-share to meet heightened farmer demand for conservation programs. Participants are able to stack the cost-share with programs offered by other groups, which would further lower the costs of adding conservation practices.
Farmers and landowners who enroll get payments and support for the following practices:
- Prairie Strips (Buffer Strips), which reduce sediment loss by 95% and reduce the amount of phosphorous and nitrogen lost through runoff. Enrollees receive a one-time incentive payment to establish prairie strips on their farm.
- Precision Conservation, which removes acres with below-average yields from row crop production and puts them in perennial cover. Enrollees receive a one-time incentive payment for removing poorly producing acres from corn and soybean production. PFI is partnering with Pheasants Forever to provide precision conservation technical assistance to both Iowa and Minnesota.
- Oxbow Wetlands, which, according to The Nature Conservancy, remove on average 42% of excess nutrients from water that flows into them and provide habitat for endangered wildlife. Enrollees receive technical and financial assistance to cover the cost of designing and building oxbow wetlands.
- Pollinator Habitat, which helps support a diversity of pollinator species, including several that are in steep decline, like regal fritillary butterflies, American bumblebees, monarch butterflies and rusty patch bumblebees. Enrollees receive payment for creating or enhancing pollinator habitat on their land.
Full details, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, are available at practicalfarmers.org/conservation-cost-share. Interested farmers and landowners can also call (515) 232-5661 to learn more, or email Brad Woodson at email@example.com or Grace Yi, PFI’s habitat viability coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PFI’s conservation cost-share is supported by Clean Water Iowa, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant, Pheasants Forever, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Iowa Soybean Association, Apex Clean Energy Foundation and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – Partners for Fish and Wildlife.
— Practical Farmers of Iowa