What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 - August 1: CRP Primary Nesting Season
June 19: Office Closed – Juneteenth
July 4: Office Closed – Independence Day
July 15: Acreage Reporting Deadline for FY24

Cost Sharing Available
Cost sharing on conservation practices is still available. Through the State of Iowa Division of Soil Conservation, IDALS, applications are taken continuously for terraces, grade stabilization structures (ponds), sediment basins (dry ponds) and waterways. The cost sharing is 50 percent up to the estimated cost.

There is also a one-time $300/ac. payment for installing contour grass buffer strips and their associated grassed headlands. The buffer strips/headlands must be left in place for 5 years and the payment is received during the installation year. The grass strips must be narrower than the adjacent crop strips and there must be crop both above and below the contour strip. The NRCS staff will lay the strips out.

There is cost sharing available to install a farmstead windbreak. The minimum is a 3-row windbreak.  The NRCS staff will assist with designing the windbreak to provide maximum wind protection and to prevent unwanted snow deposition. The cost share is on a per tree and per shrub basis.

Cost sharing for cover crops is available through the State of Iowa Water Quality Incentives program. The rate is $30/acre if you have never tried cover crops and $20/acre if you have already done cover crops. There is a 160-acre maximum per year. Sign up is open now. There is a limited state-wide funding pool and not everyone that applies receives funding with priority going to first time users.

There are several federal programs including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, EQIP and the Conservation Stewardship Program, CSP. The application deadline for both programs will be later this fall in October.  

The EQIP program is available for grazing, streambanks, wildlife activities, cover crops, no-till and many more. There is a special pool of funding for organic producers and those converting to organic production. All applications are ranked state-wide so given limited funding pools not all applications are funded.

The CSP helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resources concerns. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance - the higher the performance, the higher the payment. Those enrolled in the CSP are awarded 5-year contracts. Each landuse (cropland, pasture, farmstead and associated ag land) are evaluated and in order to receive an annual payment new activities must be implemented on every land use.  There is also a CSP for woodland.