During the summer months, Iowa farmers are doing a lot more than just watching the corn grow. They’re taking on the challenge of improving water quality year-round, with conservation practices such as no-till and strip-till in the spring, caring for stream buffers and waterways in the summer and planting cover crops in the fall.

Yet they also know the challenge is bigger than just farmers, and a truly effective approach needs to take into account urban infrastructure, weather variability and industry.

Everyone has a role to play in cleaning up our water quality. When we all work together, we can make big strides.

Iowa has undertaken a collaborative, research-based strategy for improving water quality. It’s called the Iowa Water Quality Initiative, or sometimes referred to as the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

This comprehensive approach allows us to work with farmers to help them adopt the methods that work best for their farms.

Progress is measured and reported by independent researchers from Iowa State University, and the results are available online.

The Conservation Counts website also showcases the progress made through the state’s Water Quality Initiative.

With more than 30 videos and infographics, users can see the many ways farmers are taking on the challenge of improving water quality. 

Be sure to check out the website’s “Conservation Q & A,” which features videos explaining different conservation practices you may have seen while driving by Iowa farms.

And if you’re visiting the Iowa State Fair, stop by Farm Bureau Park, located along the Grand Concourse and east of the Varied Industries Building, to learn more about how farmers work to protect water quality.

Return to The Iowa Dish.