Farming and conservation have always gone hand-in-hand for Jared Herbert, who grows corn and soybeans near Lake Park in Dickinson County.

In his 30-plus years of farming, Herbert has constantly searched for new and better methods to reduce soil erosion, trim nutrient loss from his fields, guard water quality in local streams and nearby Silver Lake, and improve wildlife habitat. And the Dickinson County Farm Bureau member has put conservation into action on his farm.

Herbert was an early adopter of no-till and strip-till farming practices on his rolling fields near the Minnesota border. He’s installed terraces, filter strips, water and sediment-control basins. A few years ago he began planting cover crops, using aerial applications to improve the chances the seed can germinate before the northern Iowan winter sets in. He also plants food plots for deer, pheasants and other wildlife.

This fall, Herbert will take another conservation step and install a bio-reactor, a device de­­signed to capture nutrients from water...