Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey last week told lawmakers in a report that farmers are continuing to expand their efforts to improve water quality.

"This report is a good snapshot of the water quality efforts underway through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative," Northey said. "Thanks to the support we have received from the governor and Legislature, we continue to expand the efforts and work with additional farmers. We are excited about the progress that has been made and the potential to scale-up efforts."

The report provided an update on the $3.8 million made available for statewide cost share for water quality practices and on the 45 demonstration projects that are operating across the state to help implement and demonstrate water quality practices.

The report also updates tracking/accountability efforts underway, shares information about research being conducted by the Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State University and highlights the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project underway in Iowa.

During the hearing, Northey also reiterated his support for the proposal passed in 2016 by the Iowa House of Representatives that would have provided nearly $500 million through 2029 for water quality efforts in the state.

The Iowa Department of Agri­culture and Land Stewardship received $9.6 million for the current fiscal year for the Water Quality Initiative. Gov. Terry Branstad included $17.6 million in fiscal year 2018 and $25.1 million in fiscal year 2019 for the effort in his proposed budget.