As the Iowa Learning Farms turns 14, we will not be resting on our past successes. This upcoming year will bring new ways of engaging farmers and all Iowans in conservation and water quality improvement practices.
While we will still continue to work with our partners to increase the number of cover crop and no-tillage acres in Iowa, starting in 2018 we will also be offering assistance with edge-of-field practice implementation through conservation planning.
Working with local stakeholders, we will hold farmer meetings and field days in the North Raccoon and Middle Cedar watersheds to encourage participants to begin the process of conservation planning so they can implement an edge-of-field practice, which include bioreactors, saturated buffers, wetlands, and drainage water management.
Assistance with conservation planning can help determine eligibility for cost share for the practices. Our goal is to assist with about 10 plans and get commitments to implement about 5 edge-of-field practices to serve as demonstration sites to encourage others in these areas to consider these important water quality improvement practices.
It is our hope that we exceed our goals and need to ask the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship for additional funding to accommodate all those folks interested in conservation planning to install edge-of-field practices.
Keep your eyes on future e-news to learn when we will host an “edge of field” field day in your area. These field days will feature presentations by farmers and experts, as well as our new Conservation Station “On the Edge” demonstration so you can see first hand how saturated buffers, bioreactors and wetlands work to improve water quality. We might even throw in a goat or two if that will get you to come to the field day.
If you are in those watersheds and interested in completing a conservation plan and implementing an edge-of-field practice, please contact Liz Juchems at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-294-5429.