Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced earlier this week that a successful Water Quality Initiative (WQI) project in Mahaska County is expanding into Jasper and Marion Counties while also adding a new phase that focuses on edge-of-field conservation practices.
Since the Mahaska County South Skunk and Cedar Creek Headwaters Watershed Project started in 2020, nearly 20,000 acres of cover crops have been seeded in the project area. The next phase of this project will continue to emphasize the use of in-field conservation practices like cover crops. However, the project will also now include an added focus on the installation of edge-of-field practices such as saturated buffers, bioreactors and wetlands on an even larger territory. These proven practices help to filter the water and remove nutrients before they enter our waterways. Depending on the landscape, grade stabilization structures will also be implemented.
“Not only are we adding more conservation and water quality practices to this successful project, but we are also increasing the territory size to positively impact even more acres and accelerate our water quality progress,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “These practices have been proven to work and if you are a farmer or landowner in this project area, we invite you to work with us to get them installed.”
Through the WQI, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is investing approximately $388,017 in the next phase of this project. Partners on the project include the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, City of Oskaloosa, William Penn University, Mahaska County Farm Bureau, Pheasants Forever, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Agriland FS, Key Cooperative, Nutrien Ag Solutions, H&S Feed and Country Store, McKim Tractor Service, Van Wall Equipment, Ozinga Feed Service, Van Maanen Seed and Chemical, Cargill, Huffman Feed and Supply, McGriff’s of New Sharon, Two Rivers Cooperative, Pella Feed Service, Titan Machinery, Vision Ag, Fremont Elevator, Herr Brother’s Equipment, Hoksey Native Seeds, Pathfinders Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), Practical Farmers of Iowa, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Jasper County Soil and Water Conservation District, Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District and Mahaska County Soil and Water Conservation District.