Mike Ehlers and Mike Naig National Hog Farmer/Kevin Schulz
Mike Ehlers (left), Marathon, Iowa, producer; and Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, discuss the installation of saturated buffers and bioreactors on farm land to improve water quality. The two participated in a press conference during the 2019 Iowa Pork Congress Wednesday in Des Moines.

Iowa Pork invests in continued water quality progress

IPPA is providing $25,000 to IDALS to help offset up to 50% of the costs for pig farmers to install saturated buffers or bioreactors on their farm land.

Iowa pork producers have long been invested in the environment, and that makes sense with their close connection to the land. The Iowa Pork Producers Association is once again partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to put dollars to that sense by offering funding for pig farmers interested in implementing new nutrient-loss reduction technologies.

A press conference was held today at the Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines announcing that the IPPA is providing $25,000 to IDALS to help offset up to 50% of the costs for pig farmers to install saturated buffers or bioreactors on their farm land. Preference is given to sites that provide the greatest opportunity for nitrate reduction and will be geographically dispersed throughout the state to aid in education and demonstration opportunities.

“This additional $25,000 investment by the Iowa Pork Producers Association will help support our efforts to scale-up the adoption of these edge-of-field practices focused on improving water quality. Both bioreactors and saturated buffers are still fairly new practices. This investment will help us continue to place these practices throughout the state to show farmers how they might fit in their operation,” says Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “Thank you to the Iowa Pork Producers Association for continuing to invest in water quality efforts in our state.”

IPPA President Gregg Hora, a pig farmer from Fort Dodge, says “IPPA is very pleased to continue this successful partnership with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. We know public-private partnerships such as this continue to drive momentum of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. … This brings IPPA’s support of these efforts to $75,000.”

This is the third year of funding committed by IPPA. Past funding has assisted in completing 11 projects, with an additional 10 projects under development. These efforts help remove nitrogen from water before it reaches our creeks, streams and rivers. “This is how we keep moving the needle on improving Iowa’s water quality,” Hora says.

Bioreactors are excavated pits filled with woodchips, with tile drainage water flowing through the woodchips. As water from the tile line passes into the bioreactor, denitrifying bacteria converts nitrate into di-nitrogen gas.

Saturated buffers divert water flowing through underground tile lines into buffers along a river or stream, aiding nutrient removal before the water enters the waterway.

This new offering from IPPA builds on its continuing efforts in support of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, including cover crop research, field day support and educational outreach. Producers who qualify and use these dollars from IPPA will be asked to share information and experiences with other farmers through IPPA and IDALS programs.

Hog farmers interested in participating can contact either Drew Mogler at IPPA at 800-372-7675 or Matt Lechtenberg at IDALS at 515-281-3857.

“Through our funding of this effort, support of research on conservation practices at Iowa State University, and continued investments in the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance and many other projects, Iowa pork producers remain committed to continuous improvement of their practices and the quality of Iowa water,” Hora says. “Pig farmers take environmental management and regulations designed to protect our natural resources very seriously. Pig manure is a valuable crop nutrient and we are dedicated to making sure its use does not impair Iowa’s water quality. It is our responsibility as farmers to make things better for the future.”

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy science assessment cites an average 4% reduction in nitrate loss and up to 46% reduction in phosphorous loss when using swine manure as a nutrient source compared to commercial fertilizer, while also having positive impacts on soil organic carbon, soil structure and runoff. Research from the University of Arkansas shows that efficiencies of modern pork production enabled pig farmers to reduce water use 41%, land use 78% and carbon footprint 35% from 1959-2009.

Source: Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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