A record number of Iowa farmers signed up to install nutrient reduction practices on their farm through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s statewide water quality cost share program, according to Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

More than 2,600 farmers signed up to try cover crops, no-till/strip-till or nitrification inhibitors on more than 270,000 acres in 98 counties.  The state will provide nearly $4.8 million in cost share funds to match the $8.7 million investment by Iowa farmers.

“I continue to be encouraged by the growing interest by Iowa farmers in trying practices focused on limiting nutrient loss and improving water quality," Northey said.  "It is great to see 1,000 farmers trying a brand new practice on their farm and 1,600 farmers trying cover crops again at a reduced-rate of cost share. We are seeing farmers making a long-term commitment to learning about these new practices and seeing how they fit into their operation."

Participants include 1,005 farmers using a practice for the first time and 1,600 past users that are trying cover crops again and are receiving a reduced-rate of cost share.  The first-time users cover 96,000 acres; the past users will use cover crops on over 175,000 acres.