Southwest Iowa Water Quality Project Receives Next Phase Funding

Committed to scaling up and accelerating the adoption of proven water quality and conservation practices

DES MOINES, Iowa (August 1, 2022) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced the funding of the next-phase of an innovative water quality and soil conservation demonstration project spanning multiple watersheds in Taylor and Page Counties in Southwest Iowa. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will continue partnering with farmers, landowners, and the Taylor and Page County Soil and Water Conservation Districts to expand and accelerate the adoption and deployment of proven and cost-effective practices that support the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

“Innovative changes on the land leads to positive changes in the water and we are excited to expand and scale-up this collaborative partnership in Taylor and Page Counties,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Statewide progress toward our Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals comes by combining new partners, projects, and practices with sustained financial investments and this Southwest Iowa project is a successful model that can be replicated elsewhere around the state in the months and years ahead.”

This project works with farmers in Taylor and Page Counties by using precision ag tools to identify opportunities for conservation land management practices on farmed areas considered to be marginal. The next 3-year phase, with a grant award of $479,550, works with cattle producers on an individual basis to evaluate their operations and goals on a sub-field level and to identify the best opportunities to target conservation practices. This project demonstrates the compatibility between cattle and conservation and the opportunities to advance conservation-based cropping systems. Since the project’s launch in 2016, 9,100 acres of cover crops have been planted, 4,000 acres of cropland has been converted to forage-based systems, and 22 grade stabilization structures have been constructed, all practices that are proven to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality.

Background on Iowa Water Quality Initiative

The Iowa Water Quality Initiative was established in 2013 to help implement the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which is a science and technology-based approach to achieving a 45 percent reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus losses to our waters. 

The strategy brings together both point sources, such as municipal wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, including farm fields and urban stormwater runoff, to address these issues. The Initiative seeks to harness the collective ability of both private and public resources and organizations to deliver a clear and consistent message to stakeholders to reduce nutrient loss and improve water quality.

More information about the initiative can be found at


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