Water quality deal lacks allure in swath of Iowa

Relatively few farmers in the Des Moines River watershed are seeking state money to plant cover crops intended to improve water quality, according to a Gazette analysis of grants made in 2017 by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Farmers in 10 counties in north-central Iowa received less than 2 percent of nearly $5 million in state grants to help farmers pay for cover crops and other conservation strategies. Contrast that with farmers in three Eastern Iowa counties — Washington, Iowa and Cedar — getting nearly 20 percent of state cost-share grants.