Cover crops in soybean field

(Photo: Joe Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Deadline approaching for conservation funding opportunity

March 10, 2022 | Brock Johnston

Farmers and landowners in the North Raccoon River Watershed are eligible for a significant boost in funding assistance for conservation practices on their farms.

Applications for 2022 projects are being accepted until Friday, April 8.

About the project

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and 11 partner organizations including ag retailers, federal and state agencies and the City of Des Moines are moving forward with watershed improvement efforts along the North Raccoon River. The opportunity is the result of a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) award courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS).

The North Raccoon Partnership for Soil and Water Outcomes combines more than $16 million in partner contributions with $9.8 million in RCPP funds to help farmers and landowners implement conservation practices to improve soil health and water quality resulting in reduced nutrient and sediment volumes from the watershed over the next five years.

Ben Porepp, a conservation agronomist with ISA’s Research Center for Farming Innovation (RCFI) is one of three ISA research staffers uniquely positioned throughout the project area:

Who is eligible to participate in this RCPP project? 

“Farmers and landowners in portions of Boone, Buena Vista, Calhoun, Carroll, Dallas, Greene, Pocahontas, Polk, Sac and Webster counties are eligible for funding supporting conservation activities.”

What conservation practices are available to participants? 

“Cover crops, no-till, and strip-till are in-field practices available to eligible participants. Incentives for treating the water as it leaves the farm via nutrient treatment wetlands, saturated buffer systems, bioreactors and oxbow wetland restorations are also available through the project via the RCPP or project partner support.”

What makes this RCPP project unique? 

“This project provides an excellent opportunity for farmers to implement a variety of beneficial conservation practices into their operations. ISA has positioned a team of three conservation agronomists throughout the watershed, working to connect farmers with the funding available for implementing these practices. The conservation agronomists are also there to assist the farmer with practice implementation helping to ensure a positive and profitable experience. From application through implementation, our team will provide technical assistance to farmers.

“About 85% of the land area within the North Raccoon Watershed is dedicated to soybean, corn and livestock production. ISA recognizes the benefits gained through these funding resources and encourages the nearly 1,800 farmer members of the association located in the project area to apply.”

Next steps

Application deadline for practices beginning in 2022 is Friday, April 8. All sign up and financial assistance is administrated through local NRCS offices.

Applications from farmers and landowners residing the North Raccoon River Watershed will continue to be accepted in an ongoing signup. Applications received after the April 8 deadline will be eligible for consideration at a future date.

Interested in learning more about this opportunity? Contact Ben Porepp, ISA conservation agronomist at or via phone at 515-802-2264.

Is your farmland RCPP eligible? Find out here.