By guest blogger Clare Lindahl, Executive Director, Conservation Districts of Iowa
“People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.”
–Terry Pratchett, author
If you have not read my February guest article on the Clean Water Iowa Blog you may not know about Conservation Districts of Iowa’s Champion Cover Crop Commissioners Program!
Through the program, Conservation Districts of Iowa, with support from the National Wildlife Federation, assisted 10 elected Iowa Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners using cover crops on their farms to share their experiences with others in 2014.
Throughout last year, the 10 Champion Cover Crop Commissioners involved in the program:
- Sent letters and information to support 939 farmers using cover crops for the first time
- delivered information about cover crops to 805 farmers during meetings, workshops and field days
- connected with 61 agribusiness personnel about cover crops
- participated in print and radio media interviews about cover crops to readership/listenership of over a half million people.
Conservation Districts of Iowa has been honored to provide farmers with a platform to share their cover crop story with other farmers and is grateful to the National Wildlife Federation for supporting the program again in 2015!
Cover Crop Workshop
Mark Glawe speaking with attendees in the field. The clouds parted and the rain stopped just in time to go outside!
Yesterday, Conservation Districts of Iowa partnered with Iowa Learning Farms and the Clayton County Soil and Water Conservation District to help Mark Glawe share his story with the 42 attendees who showed up to learn more on a rainy Iowa spring day.
Mark is a Clayton County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner and a farmer using cover crops since 2004. Mark is using cereal rye and radishes. He has tried red clover in the past and would like to try crimson clover in the future. He has drilled cover crops and applied them aerially as well. Mark is reluctant to use a high boy with his steep ground and tight contours but is looking for a no-till drill.
Mark cited many advantages of using cover crops including increased forage for grazing, increased yields and organic matter, reduced compaction and keeping soil and nutrients in place.
“I have no sheet and rill erosion,” Mark said. “If a 3-inch rain were to come today, I’m not worried. It’s not going to wash. That’s worth a lot.”
Iowa Learning Farms’ Liz Juchems and me in Mark’s field – his farm was beautiful!
Mark added, “It’s different. You just kind of have to change your mindset. It’s amazing what it will do.”
The farmers trying something new, the farmers daring to be different—they are brave. The farmers sharing their story to help others be brave—they are our champions!
Thank you National Wildlife Federation, Iowa Learning Farms, Clayton County SWCD and Iowa Cover Crop Champion Commissioners!