Increased flooding in the last decade has increased concern regarding floodplain management. Agricultural operations on the floodplain are, of course, substantially affected by these events.  However, farm practices on and off the floodplain can impact the severity of floods.

Landowners and farmers should pay particular attention to practices, and the related lease provisions, that reduce agricultural runoff.  This includes ensuring crop residue remains on the land, establishing and protecting grass waterways and buffer strips, contour and strip farming, and the use of cover crops.

Landowner attention to farm operations on natural wetland areas, as well as the floodplain, is of critical importance. The soil on a floodplain is particularly vulnerable to flooding.  Your floodplain tenant may lose a year’s crop due to a flood event, but you could lose the remainder of your top soil.  Wetlands play a crucial role in retaining rainfall and purifying runoff.  There are USDA easement programs available for both wetlands and floodplain land.

Additional Resources:

Iowa Wetlands Reserve Program

  • The WRP provides landowners with a payment for the easement and provides permanent protection for the wetland.
  • The owner retains possession and the land is not opened to the public.
  • This program is administered by USDA NRCS.

Emergency Watershed Protection Program

  • This easement program is only available to land recently damaged by flooding.
  • It is also administered by USDA NRCS.