Iowa is one of six states selected by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to take part in a pilot project that will provide financial assistance to farmers to address ephemeral gullies on highly erodible land. The application cutoff date is June 21, 2019.
Priority will be given to applicants with tracts that were selected for conservation compliance reviews in the past two years and received variances to address ephemeral gully erosion.
Ephemeral gullies are those areas in cropland fields where small gullies appear after heavy rains. Discing an ephemeral gully leaves nutrient-rich topsoil vulnerable to erosion. Fixing the gullies with conservation practices protects productivity and water quality and allows farmers with highly erodible land to continue receiving USDA benefits.
The pilot will provide financial assistance to farmers to implement conservation practices such as conservation cover, cover crops, no-till, buffer strips, terraces, waterways and others.
Since the passage of the 1985 Farm Bill, farmers have been required to control erosion on fields that are classified as highly erodible. Each spring, NRCS conducts compliance reviews on a random selection of highly erodible fields to determine if erosion has been adequately controlled. A non-compliance ruling can affect benefits that farmers receive from USDA agencies, including Conservation Reserve Program payments and Price Loss Coverage. If erosion control issues are identified during compliance reviews, farmers may be given variances, which provide time for farmers to make adjustments and install needed conservation practices.