Success leads to change for livestock water quality loan program
By Marg Land
November 28, 2008, Des Moines, IA – A state revolving loan fund set
aside in 2005 for water quality improvements to livestock facilities
has grown in popularity as producers seek to improve their
November 28, 2008, Des Moines, IA – A state revolving loan fund set aside in 2005 for water quality improvements to livestock facilities has grown in popularity as producers seek to improve their environmental performance.
The low interest loan program has been so successful that livestock producers have requested nearly all this year's $12 million allocation less than three months into the 2009 fiscal year.
“We count this as a significant achievement,” said Lyle Asell, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’s specialist on ag and the environment. “We set the program up three years ago based on discussions with livestock producers and it is gratifying to see how it has grown. The success of the program is largely due to producers being willing to address existing problems.
“Replacing open feedlots with roofed buildings is our highest priority,” he said. “Putting the animals under a roof offers a long-term benefit to producers and the environment. Runoff from open lots is greatly reduced or eliminated, and producers benefit from improved animal performance and increased fertilizer value from the manure."
Other eligible practices include manure storage structures, solids settling basins and other ways to properly handle manure, according to Patti Cale-Finnegan, DNR State Revolving Fund coordinator.
The loan program is offered through local Soil and Water Conservation Districts with oversight by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and the DNR.
“Because of high demand for the loans, DNR and IDALS have prioritized funding requests, and will no longer fund loans for manure management equipment. Adopting this policy leaves more loan money for practices that offer more benefits to water quality,” said Cale-Finnegan.
“Producers who had an equipment loan application submitted by Oct. 8, 2008, can still be approved for an equipment loan,” said Tony Toigo, program coordinator for IDALS.
DNR anticipates that additional funds may be set aside this year to continue funding manure storage structures.
The loans are available for livestock and poultry producers who are not required to have a national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) permit. Generally these producers have less than 1,000 beef steers, 700 dairy cows, 2,500 finishing hogs, etc.
Loans are made through participating local lenders arranged through the program's financial partner, the Iowa Finance Authority.
More information and applications are available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's website at www.iowaagriculture.gov/FieldServices/waterQualityLoanFund.asp.