The February thaw hasn't quite happened yet, and as producers look ahead to spring planting, they're also looking ahead at another growing season in which to effectively manage nutrients on and off their farms.
Much of the progress on Iowa's water quality initiative was made last August, when producers who had never tried nutrient management practices put almost $3 million on over 120,000 acres through a cost share program with the Iowa Department of Agriculture.
Last December, eight targeted watersheds were selected for demonstration projects to educate producers on the benefits of voluntary nutrient management practices.
As producers consider planting decisions for the spring, EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks says, in terms of nutrient management, Iowa is leading the way.
"Iowa is going in a direction that a lot of other states need to be going in. You've put the science into it, you've put the information out to producers." Brooks says, "And you've appropriated real money to do it, producers have put their own money forward, so we've got all the elements in place, we'd like to see other states move that far ahead. So, I'd say congratulations on this first step, it's a first step."