Millions of state dollars have been poured into water conservation practices like no-till or cover crops as part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, however, they have stayed as one-time funding projects.
At the Farm Progress show in Boone Iowa, EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks says every state funds these practices differently. He says Iowa leaders have seized the opportunity of working toward clean water and one of the benefits of state government is finding sustainable ways to support projects like this for the long haul.
He says Iowans have always been good about making practical investments into water health and soil productivity. Brooks says the next step will determine if legislators feel more comfortable putting consistent funds toward water quality.
"The big challenge ahead of us now, is to spread these practices so that more and more producers adopt them, and then to be able to measure so we can prove out these different practices. I suppose most Iowans would say, 'If I'm going to plug $25 million into a water pollution control plan, I'd like to see some facts and figures showing that it works for me' and so that'll really be the next frontier. Is measuring, documenting and making changes along the way."
Brooks says after documenting the practices, Iowa leaders will be able see what the payoff is.
"In the meantime, lets make these practices spread, let's see how they work. Then you can go back to the legislature. I used to be a state legislator, I know money doesn't grow on trees." He says, "I suppose that Secretary Northey, Director Gipp can go back in to a future legislator and show that these practices are working. The legislator may be able to come up with a variety of different approaches."