The Iowa Corn Growers Association is a founding member of the alliance and CEO Craig Floss says the multi-faceted program includes a council working toward implementation of the nutrient management plan.
“We launched the Conservation Infrastructure Strategy Initiative,” Floss says. “It’s a big long word to basically say it’s all about taking the nutrient management or nutrient reduction strategy to the next level. We’ll be meeting to do everything we can to figure out how best to implement all of the things that are outlined in the nutrient reduction strategy.”
Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey will co-chair the panel. Floss says they are also forming a public-private partnership to work on water quality.
“That’s made up of agribusinesses from around Iowa and actually around the country that are interested in participating and bringing their private resources and know-how to the whole system,” Floss says. “We think the public side and the private side coming together is the best approach we can do in order to accomplish good water quality here in the State of Iowa.”
The big holdup has been funding for any water quality plan. Floss says the state now has a grant through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program to help with the financing.
“We received an RCPP grant which totalled $7.4-million and that’s going to be matched so we actually have over $11-million of money that we can work with that will enable us to work in watersheds across the state of Iowa,” Floss says. “It’s the largest of its kind in the country and we were fortunate to be able to receive that funding.”
Floss says $11-million won’t be enough, so he expects the Iowa legislature to revisit a funding plan for the estimated $1-billion dollar cost of the management plan.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton