Cover crops grow through corn stalk residue

IDALS to provide financial incentives directly to farmers who transition to on-farm conservation practices such as no-till and cover crops. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship joins efforts of the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund

January 6, 2021 | Heather Lilienthal

As the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund, a farmer-centric and outcomes-driven approach to conservation agriculture, opens enrollment for the 2021 season to Iowa farmers, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) announced its support through the Water Quality Initiative (WQI) program.

This partnership is the first of its kind for a state agriculture department and the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund. The Iowa Water Quality Initiative is the action plan for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy established in 2013. The WQI improves water quality through a collaborative, research-based approach that is evaluated and reported by a team of independent researchers from multiple institutions.

The Soil and Water Outcomes Fund is a partnership of AgOutcomes, a subsidiary of the Iowa Soybean Association, and ReHarvest Partners, a subsidiary of Quantified Ventures. AgOutcomes leads the agronomic and farmer relations elements of the operation and ReHarvest Partners manages the financial and contracting aspects of the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund.

“The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is excited to partner with the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund and other private partners to explore new conservation strategies,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Using this innovative approach to incentivize producers to implement science-based conservation practices that fit their farms, we can scale up the number of conservation practices faster and make more progress towards the goals outlined in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

Through the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund, IDALS provides financial incentives directly to farmers who transition to on-farm conservation practices such as no till and cover crops that yield outcomes like carbon sequestration and water quality improvement. The environmental outcomes are verified using a combination of environmental modeling, in-field monitoring, and remote sensing.

The Soil and Water Outcomes Fund will be seeking farmers to enroll acres, beginning this month. Farmers interested in enrollment should visit www.theoutcomesfund.com.

“We are excited to partner with IDALS as we provide farmers an opportunity to enhance sustainability on their farms through the addition of new conservation practices producing environmental outcomes,” said Adam Kiel, Soil and Water Outcomes Fund managing director and AgOutcomes vice president. “We look forward to providing assistance and guidance to farmers in the coming years to enhance on-farm productivity and further environmental outcomes.”

“Iowa is again leading the way in conservation agriculture, working to produce verifiable environmental outcomes through an innovative public-private partnership,” said Mark Lambert, Soil and Water Outcomes Fund managing director and ReHarvest Partners chief executive officer. “The model is built to scale and can be replicated across key agricultural regions in the United States.”


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