Secretary Naig Announces Calhoun County ‘‘Batch and Build’’ Water Quality Project

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will utilize the successful “batch and build” model with partners in Calhoun County to install proven edge-of-field water quality practices

DES MOINES, Iowa (Oct. 9, 2023) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has formed a partnership with Calhoun County and the Calhoun County Soil and Water Conservation District to launch the first phase of the North Raccoon Edge-of-Field Project.

The goal of the first phase of this water quality project is to install more than 25 edge-of-field conservation practices, including bioreactors and saturated buffers, in the North Raccoon River watershed. These science-based practices, which are outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, are proven to improve water quality and reduce the loss of nutrients into Iowa’s waterways.

Iowa’s innovative “batch and build” model modernizes the project management process by installing batches of conservation practices on multiple farms at once, therefore allowing a faster acceleration of water quality progress. As a result of this efficient and cost-effective model, Iowa is setting records for conservation implementation, and we have built positive momentum behind our statewide water quality efforts.

“Proven edge-of-field practices like bioreactors and saturated buffers help to keep nutrients out of our rivers, lakes and streams,” said Secretary Naig. “By forming this partnership in Calhoun County, we can accelerate the installation of these practices and improve our water quality. We invite and encourage all area farmers and landowners to learn more about they can join this exciting water quality partnership.”

“Water is one of our most important natural resources, and finding ways to protect and improve its quality remains essential to modern agricultural practices. Saturated buffer and bioreactors are two designs in the overall toolbox of practices which can be incorporated into existing drainage systems while remaining cost effective to implement,” said the Calhoun County Board of Supervisors and Brian Blomme, the Drainage Engineer for Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac Counties, in a joint statement. “We look forward to coordinating with IDALS, Iowa State University researchers, local contractors, and landowners in completing installation of these practices through a batch and build process. We encourage any interested landowner to reach out to us if they are interested in participating.”

Calhoun County will act as the fiscal agent for the project and provide contracting oversight for practice installation. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will reimburse Calhoun County for eligible project construction costs and provide technical, design and engineering support. The Calhoun County Soil and Water Conservation District will enter into maintenance agreements with landowners, provide technical assistance and issue a certification upon completion.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is also providing additional support to the project. The first phase of this project agreement is in place until June 30, 2026.


About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 14 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land and enhance water quality for the next generation. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Don McDowell
Communications Director