WEBSTER CITY - The Natural Resources Conservation Service is offering increased financial assistance rates for key practices including cover crops, bioreactors and grade stabilization structures.
Additional new offerings with include terraces and waste storage facilities (hoop livestock buildings). Hoop buildings allow livestock to remain under a roof for better gain, less stress from weather and better manure management.
Iowa is one of 12 states participating in the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative. Deadline for applications is June 1.
Nearly $3.5 million is available through MRBI in the counties of Buena Vista, Clayton, Dallas, Delaware, Dubuque, Floyd, Greene, Guthrie, Hamilton, Humboldt Jackson, Jones, Kossuth, Mitchell, Pocahontas Wayne, Webster and Wright. Funding is for fiscal year 2012 contracts.
"Through these contracts producers will implement a system of conservation practices that will control soil erosion, improve soil quality, and provide wildlife habitat," said Iowa State Conservationist Richard Sims. "These local water quality improvements will have positive impacts further downstream, throughout the Mississippi River Basin."
The MRBI is assisting NRCS and its conservation partners in expanding their capacity to improve water quality and treat other natural resource concerns throughout the Mississippi River basin.
In addition to avoiding, controlling and trapping nutrient runoff, participating farmers and landowners voluntarily implement conservation practices that improve wildlife habitat; restore wetlands; and maintain agricultural productivity.
These conservation practices are carried out in a site-specific manner to create a system that addresses natural resource concerns and fits within the operational needs of the farm.
Key conservation practices include nutrient management, conservation crop rotation, and residue and tillage management. Farmers and landowners can also use other conservation practices such as restoring wetlands, planting trees along streams to filter nutrients out of water draining off the farm, and drainage water management.
MRBI is offered in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Partner organizations participating in the initiative will contribute additional financial resources.
Since 1935, the NRCS conservation delivery system has advanced a unique partnership with state and local governments and private landowners delivering conservation based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests.
For additional information on MRBI practices in Hamilton and Wright counties, contact Bruce Voigts, project coordinator, at the USDA Service Center at Webster City, (515) 832-1563 or at Clarion at (515) 532-2165.