WASHINGTON, May 19, 2014 – Farmers are increasingly familiar with the state’s nutrient reduction strategy and nearly three of four plan to implement practices included in the strategy this year according to a just-completed survey by Agri-Pulse and Iowa Soybean Association.

More than 88 percent of farmers participating in the survey were familiar with the strategy while
76 percent said they plan to implement practices recommend in the strategy on their farm this year.

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, developed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa State University, seeks to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous loads to Iowa’s waters and the Gulf of Mexico from point and non-point sources by at least 45 percent. It’s supported by the ISA and other farm and environmental stakeholders.

Poll respondents say they’ve adopted a variety of practices – often more than one – on their farms to improve in-field nutrient management, including:

·         Using split application (50.5 percent)
·         Changing from fall to spring application (35.2 percent)
·         Planting cover crops (32.9 percent)
·         Reducing the amount of nutrients applied (29.4 percent)
·         Changing the form of fertilizer (15.2 percent)
·         Other measures (22.3 percent)
·         Fewer than 6 percent of farmers responding have made no changes.

As for edge-of-field nutrient management, again the respondents sometimes use more than one practice, including:

·         Installing edge-of-field buffers (57.6 percent)
·         Installing measures to protect wetlands (12.9 percent)
·         Other measures (18.8 percent)

None of the Iowa farmers responding to the Agri-Pulse Farm Opinion Poll say they use bioreactors, and 23.5 percent say they have not used type of any edge-of-field management.

Four out of 10 respondents (42.3 percent) plan to use USDA conservation programs this year to help with nutrient management, while more than a third (34.1 percent) do not plan to take advantage of the government programs. More than 21 percent are not sure, while 2.3 percent did not answer.

Among the USDA programs available at the time of the poll, the Conservation Stewardship Program and Conservation Reserve Program are the most popular. When poll respondents were asked which programs they found beneficial, each of these two programs gathered affirmative responses from 27 percent of those polled.

Remaining responses to this question were:

·         Environmental Stewardship Program (11.7 percent)
·         Wetlands Reserve Program (9.4 percent)
·         Conservation Innovation Grants (3.5 percent)
·         Other (5.8 percent)
·         None (9.4 percent)

The farmers responding to this poll were split on suggestions for improvements to the program, though simplifying application forms (32.9 percent) and reducing the time between applications and funding (29.4 percent) were the most frequent choices. The next most popular was to provide more technical assistance along with funding (22.3 percent). Reducing the number of programs was the choice of 15.2 percent of respondents, while 12.9 percent suggested methods of improvement other than those listed in the poll.

Regarding planting intentions, more than three in five (63.5 percent) farmers polled in the second Agri-Pulse Farm Opinion Poll say they’ll plant about the same combination of corn and soybeans this year as they did in 2013, while 20 percent will plant more soybeans and 16.4 percent plan to plant more corn.

More than 40 percent of the respondents say they’ll plant between 251 and 1,000 acres and 27 percent will plant 1,001 to 5,000 acres. The remainder will plant less than 250 or more than 2,500 acres.

Eighty-five active soybean farmers participated in this informal Internet survey. It is conducted six times annually to gain insight into farmer opinions on timely issues and topics including legislative and regulatory issues, crop conditions, planting and harvesting progress, yield estimates and other timely issues impacting farmer profitability. See the results of the Inaugural Agri-Pulse Farm Opinion Poll, conducted in February.

About Agri-Pulse: Agri-Pulse is a trusted farm and rural policy source in Washington, D.C., providing a balanced perspective on a wide variety of issues including the farm bill, nutrition, trade, food safety, environment, biotechnology, organic, conservation and crop insurance. For more news, go to www.agri-pulse.com.

About Iowa Soybean Association: The Iowa Soybean Association (www.iasoybeans.com) is dedicated to improving the competitiveness of Iowa soybean farmers by developing programs and policies that expand profit opportunities while promoting environmentally sensitive production. Established in 1964, the association expands opportunity and delivers results for the state’s nearly 40,000 soybean farmers using the soybean checkoff and other resources and is led by an elected volunteer board of 21 farmers.


Not funded by the soybean checkoff


For more news, go to www.agri-pulse.com.