Livestock Water Quality Loan Program
By Pattie Cale-Finnegan, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Since 2006, the Livestock Water Quality Facilities Program has provided low-interest loans for livestock producers. As part of the State Revolving Fund (SRF), the program assists producers who want to prevent or reduce water quality problems. Manure management practices, equipment, and planning are all eligible for loans.
The program has been operated through a partnership between the Iowa Agricultural Development Authority (IADA), the Iowa Finance Authority, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Beginning in June 2008, local Soil and Water Conservation Districts will assume the IADA’s role in processing applications. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Division of Soil Conservation (DSC) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide support.
This is not a new role for the districts and the DSC. They have successfully operated the Local Water Protection Program since 2005 to finance soil, sediment and nutrient control practices. The districts will now be a one-stop shop for farmers to apply for technical and financial assistance for both loan programs.
Producers will now have one loan application form, one application process and one Web site to consult when considering a water quality-related improvement on their farm.
For local water protection practices, such as grass waterways, terraces, pasture or hayland planting, streamside forest buffers, and filter strips, the loan term is up to 10 years. Loan amounts can range from $5,000 to $50,000.
For manure management projects, including equipment for manure management, developing manure management plans, and construction of manure management structures, the loan term is up to 20 years. Minimum loan amount is $10,000 and currently there is no maximum loan amount. Livestock producers must have a combined total of less than 1,000 animal units. That is the equivalent of 1,000 beef cattle, 700 mature dairy cattle or 2,500 finishing swine.
Producers can finance up to 100 percent of the project cost with loans starting at $5,000. The loans can also be used in conjunction with state or federal cost share. Applications are available on the IDALS Web site at http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/FieldServices/waterQualityLoanFund.asp
Since the beginning of the livestock water quality loan program, more than $7 million worth of projects have been financed. The average loan amount for the 109 projects was $65,000. Another $8 million worth of project applications have been approved, with construction and financing in progress.
In October 2007, the program began accepting applications for the construction of deep-bedded confinement buildings primarily to replace existing open feedlots. Since then, 18 applications have been approved. Four of them have been constructed and financed. The average loan amount for completed buildings was $240,000. Hoop structures and monoslope buildings are eligible. Some projects have also received cost-share funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
The loan programs are part of the Iowa SRF. Under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the SRF is administered by the DNR and the Iowa Finance Authority.