A Water Quality Initiative demonstration project is expanding into five area counties.
The project that began in southwest Iowa in 2016 is now expanding into Cherokee, Ida, Carroll, Woodbury, and Guthrie counties. The announcement was made this week by Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig during a kickoff event in Cherokee as part of Soil and Water Conservation Week.
The project demonstrates the compatibility between cattle and conservation, and the creative opportunities to advance conservation-based cropping systems. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and other partners will work with farmers and landowners by using precision ag tools to identify, build, and expand opportunities for forage-based crops where row crops are less profitable.
Project coordinators in Cherokee and Carroll counties are being hired to provide technical expertise and resources to farmers and landowners at the local level. The first phase of the five-county expansion is expected to cost around 465-thousand dollars, and will go through 2025. Goals and practice priorities include grazing and hay land planting, installing grade stabilization structures that incorporate watering systems, promote extending crop rotations, incorporate the use of cover crops in livestock operations, and engage new and beginning farmers.