The water quality project is expanding in four northwest Iowa counties.

Coordinator Kristi Silverthorn says the Deep Creek Water Quality Initiative is designed to help farmers by implementing conservation practices as part of the state’s nutrient reduction strategy.

“Our grant got extended to go from July 1st of 2017 to June 30th of 2020,” Silverthorn says. “Our goals are to promote and demonstrate conservation practices that outline the nutrient reduction strategy to reduce nutrient and sediment loss from the Deep Creek Watershed here.”

Farmers in Plymouth, Sioux, O’Brien and Cherokee counties are encouraged to use no-till practices on their operations, along with other efforts to achieve conservation goals.

“We focus a lot on no till, a nitrification inhibitor, cover crops and subsurface phosphorus placement,” she says. “The new addition to the extension we have, we’re also offering assistance for denitrifying bioreactors and saturated buffers.”

Silverthorn says there are a couple of big challenges with the nutrient reduction management strategy.

“The cost or not having the equipment needed,” she says. “Some farmers don’t have the no-till planters or equipment to put liquid manure under the surface of the soil.”

Silverthorn says there are cost-share dollars available for producers. She says they’re still finalizing the amount, but they have a total of $500,000 to spend over the next three years.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton