Contact: Ben Gleason, 515-460-3385, [email protected]

DES MOINES – Today at the Iowa State Fair, the Iowa Nutrient Research & Education Council (INREC)  announced a $250,000 grant from Google that will bolster INREC initiatives to improve water quality and support Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy. 

The grant was announced by INREC Executive Director Ben Gleason and Google Regional Head of External Affairs Dan Harbeke. 

“Iowa continues to lead on soil health and water quality and grants like this one only help to accelerate our progress. I’m grateful for the investment made today by Google as we work towards achieving the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said Governor Kim Reynolds.

Iowa is home to the most productive cropland in the world, producing one-eleventh of the nations’ food supply and is the largest producer of corn, pork and eggs. The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy was first in the nation, and public/private partnerships demonstrate Iowa’s leadership in water quality. INREC worked closely with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Iowa State University to develop novel, first-in-the-nation progress measurements including the INREC survey of ag retailers to measure in-field nutrient reduction practices and the Iowa BMP Mapping Project to map structural conservation practices across the state. 

“We appreciate the leadership by INREC and the investment by Google and the more than 350 other statewide public and private partners who are helping us work toward reaching the water quality and soil conservation goals outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “We are always eager to welcome new partners, both rural or urban, who want to work collaboratively with us to reach more Iowans and help deploy and install proven water quality practices.” 

Currently, INREC is supporting ISU’s nitrogen initiative to develop cutting edge nitrogen management tools utilizing precision technology, farm data collection, and supercomputing and modeling. INREC applies data and science through education and outreach from fertilizer retailers to farmers leading to healthier waterways.

“Farmers are the original stewards of the land,” said Elizabeth Pishny, External Affairs and Strategy at Google. “We are proud to partner with INREC on their work with growers, crop advisors, and ag retailers to promote innovation in nutrient management and conservation.”

The Google grant will help further INREC’s mission to measure and demonstrate environmental progress in Iowa farming practices, foster innovation and development of new environmental technologies to reduce nutrient losses, and enhance dedicated outreach and education to assist Iowa farmers in achieving environmental goals.

“We greatly appreciate the tremendous support from Google to leverage existing projects to enhance future science and technology as INREC supports Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said Roger Zylstra, farmer and chair of the INREC board of directors. “This support will expand our public/private partnerships to improve water quality.” 

Google has called Iowa home for more than a decade and its first data center in Council Bluffs came online in 2009. Since then, Google has invested more than $5 billion in Iowa and established a long-term commitment to the state. Google has created jobs for more than 900 people at its Iowa facility and has awarded more than $3 million to local schools and nonprofits in Iowa. 

INREC strategically brings together farm and commodity organizations, fertilizer and crop production companies, agricultural retailers, and crop advisers in a formal organization to help lead the environmental efforts of agriculture in Iowa. Non-profit members include Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Certified Crop Advisors, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Click Here for a high resolution photo of the official announcement
Pictured left to right: Roger Zylstra, INREC Board Chair; Ben Gleason, INREC Executive Director; Dan Harbeke, Google Head of Public Policy and External Affairs; Governor Kim Reynolds; Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig; Dave Struthers, INREC Board Vice-Chair

Click Here for additional photos from the announcement

Television and Video News – B-roll and Quotes at the links below:
B-Roll of event and Google booth at the Iowa State Fair
Quote from Ben Gleason, Executive Director, Iowa Nutrient Research & Education Council (two quotes)
Quote from Dane Harbeke, Regional Head of Public Policy and External Affairs, Google (one quote)