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ISA awarded grant to accelerate conservation adoption

Article cover photo
A recently awarded grant will allow ISA to develop watershed diffusion hubs for faster conservation practice adoption. The diffusion hubs will help other watershed projects with education and adoption for their residents. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Carol Brown, ISA environmental communications specialist

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), in coordination with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), has secured a grant to improve water quality efforts throughout Iowa. The Walton Family Foundation awarded a grant this month for ISA and IDALS to conduct a one-year project for implementation of innovative watershed approaches.

The ISA Environmental Programs and Services team (EPS) will head the project.

“ISA, along with farmers and numerous local, state and federal partners, has developed nearly 30 small-scale watershed implementation plans,” said Roger Wolf, ISA EPS Director.  “These plans provide a roadmap to scale up practices to meet goals outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. This new grant will work to build off that momentum by exploring ways to do it faster and at larger scales.”   

Wolf says the grant allows the project team to advance the idea of creating “diffusion hubs” focused around mature watershed projects. The EPS team will use new tools, strategies and technologies to get conservation practices recommended in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy on the ground faster. The diffusion hubs will allow for expansion of innovation and investment into surrounding watersheds.

 Additionally, the team hopes to expand the knowledge base for the financial aspects of conservation on farms, with the goal of broader conservation adoption across the state.

Matt Lechtenberg, water quality coordinator at IDALS, believes ISA’s efforts to scale up watershed planning projects will have a positive impact on the future of Iowa’s water quality.

“IDALS is committing to be an engaged project partner,” said Lechtenberg. “We will meet with ISA to review project needs and outputs, providing comments and deliberating on requests related to future watershed planning.”

Work will begin on this project in January 2019.

Contact Carol Brown at

For media inquiries, please contact Katie Johnson, ISA Public Relations Manager at or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at

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