Ag Secretary Expands Iowa Conservation Efforts

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Iowa just got a new host of efforts to conserve water and soil and improve nutrient management practices.

On Tuesday, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an expansion of USDA's conservation programs for Iowa's producers, 85,000 acres of Iowa land are now able to apply for sensitive land grants and loans. Equivalent to about a $175 million dollars in investment to the state's land resources.

Vilsack says the goal in Iowa is adding more access to programs and he plans to work with state partners in removing barriers and backlogs to other conservation reserve efforts.

If funding is maintained, the USDA plans to expand access for a future $250 million dollar investment.

Since 2009, the USDA invested more than $2.2 billion dollars in Iowa conservation enrolling 4.5 million acres of Iowa working lands into conservation. They report Iowa contributes to a reduction of 260 million pounds of nitrogen and 534 million pounds of phosphorus in the Mississippi River Basin between 2008 and 2013.