Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) recently presented a 2019 Public-Private Partnership award to the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) Business Council at the 2019 NASDA Annual Meeting. The NASDA Public-Private Partnership award recognizes private organizations that partner with a state Department of Agriculture to implement a program, project or service that positively impacts its residents. Secretary Naig nominated IAWA for collaborating with 14 businesses and organizations to improve Iowa’s water quality. The award was presented to IAWA leadership, including Dave Schwartz, Executive VP of Sales at Verdesian Life Sciences (pictured). Schwartz is the current chair of the IAWA Business Council.

“Collaboration among public and private partners is key to implementing scientifically-proven solutions that improve water quality locally and downstream,” said Secretary Naig. “IAWA is taking a leadership role in increasing private funding, which accelerates the implementation of conservation practices that support the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

The Midwest Agriculture Water Quality Partnership (MAWQP) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) is one success story, co-led by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the IAWA. The $11 million contract has aligned 48 partners — including 19 agribusinesses — and $39 million in non-federal match to improve water quality. The MAWQP has improved conservation on more than three and a half million acres of private lands in less than three years.

The partnership has also created a Conservation Infrastructure Initiative that has accelerated demand for conservation practices. This group is made of up more than 100 representatives from the public and private sector; it works towards implementing and securing support to increase conservation practices. Three working groups have been created — strategy, cover crops and conservation drainage — that develop recommendations to make substantial progress towards Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals.

“The IAWA Business Council has been instrumental to the success of our public-private partnerships,” said IAWA Executive Director Sean McMahon. “Our Business Council members are investing substantial resources to make a real and meaningful, positive impact on Iowa’s water quality.”

About Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance

The Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) is increasing the pace and scale of farmer-led efforts to improve water quality in Iowa. Founded in 2014 by Iowa Corn, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association, IAWA is building public-private partnerships focused on implementing water quality solutions. Learn more at

The following companies are members of the IAWA Business Council: Agri Drain Corporation, The Context Network, Corteva Agriscience, Ecosystem Services Exchange, Farm Nutrients, Hagie Manufacturing, Iowa Select Farms, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, LaCrosse Seed, Montag Manufacturing, The Mosaic Company, Nutrien, and Verdesian Life Sciences. To learn more about the Conservation Infrastructure initiative, visit

About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 12 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land for the next generation. Learn more at

About the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. NASDA grows and enhances agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government, and stakeholders.

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