AGRIBUSINESS: Nutrient Strategy Will Cost Producers, At Least Initially

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To ease producers into the voluntary practices contained in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and its boots-on-the-ground implementation throughout the Iowa Water Quality Initiative, the Iowa Department of Agriculture is putting money where its message is; with up to 160 acres of cost-share funds available for produces who want to try the various practices, such as cover crops.

The strategy's first goal is to improve water quality across the state. Secondary are the benefits to Iowa agriculture. How might those practices, if employed, affect a given producer's bottom line?

"I think it will depend on the operation, and to start, cover crops cost money, out of the gate," said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey.

"We believe over the long term there will be some savings in nutrients. That will help pay for some of that cost... [that] there will be some benefits for soil quality, control, and erosion. We believe in the long term this will be something producers will want to do, and will cost some money, but be well worth the cost of putting that practice in the ground."