A new public-private partnership will help growers benchmark their on-farm sustainability practices and be rewarded for improvements through a first-of-its-kind pay-for-performance model in Dubuque County, IA. The Stewardship Incentive Program is a collaboration between Truterra, LLC, the sustainability business at Land O’Lakes, Inc., Dubuque County, the Dubuque Soil & Water Conservation District, and local Truterra ag retailer Innovative Ag Services, to support area growers in adopting more sustainable farming practices that can improve soil health and water quality.
The program will leverage the Truterra Insights Engine, a sustainability tool that allows growers to generate a stewardship baseline for every field and then predict and measure the impact of implementing specific conservation practices on both the environment and their profitability. The tool generates a Truterra Insights Score, which is an overall sustainability rating and allows growers to track their progress over time. The Truterra Insights Score is a measure of a growers’ agronomic practices and conservation practices, as well as being reflective of each farms’ soils and topography. This unique analysis allows the Truterra Insights Engine to pinpoint where practices are most impactful.
“Truterra is thrilled to be a part of this unique and innovative program that is giving growers the data and tools they need to adopt conservation practices on their farms that can improve their sustainability and profitability,” said Jason Weller, Vice President, Truterra. “The program is sending a clear message to farmers and citizens that Dubuque County is willing to reinvest local dollars to positively impact water quality, flood resiliency and climate impacts, and they are turning to farmers to help.”
Truterra and Innovative Ag Services will work with participating growers to benchmark their 2020 farm data and then evaluate how implementing new conservation practices on each enrolled field, anything from cover crops to improving tillage management or nutrient management, could improve their Truterra™ Insights Score. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to positively affecting an Insights Score, so growers will be in the driver’s seat, using data-driven insights to implement the conservation practices that work best for their fields in 2021. There will be a financial incentive based on the improvement in their Truterra™ Insights Score.
“Truterra does an excellent job evaluating the entire farming operation and where improvements can be made from both a conservation and profitability standpoint,” said Eric Schmechel, Watershed Program Director, Dubuque Soil & Water Conservation District. “We hope this first-of-its-kind program will lower some of the barriers growers face in implementing practice changes on their farms for the ultimate benefit of our county’s soil, water and climate.”
“Dubuque County’s funding shows its commitment to improving water quality,” added Dubuque County Board of Supervisors Chairperson Dave Baker. “Using Truterra’s Insights Engine to partner with local farmers to improve conservation practices will be beneficial for our watersheds.”
The program is open to all eligible growers in Dubuque County. To join this effort, please contact Eric Schmechel with the Dubuque Soil & Water Conservation District at 920-327-0908 or [email protected].