Farmers hovered around tables to study maps of the Cedar River watershed during an ag literacy workshop at the Iowa Farm Bureau annual meeting earlier this month.

It was just a demonstration exercise, but the farmers quickly discovered that it wasn’t easy to pick and choose water quality solutions in the real world — and on a limited budget. For example, if they decided to start a rain garden project in the city, there wouldn’t be enough funding to plant cover crops on farmland.

"What this shows is there’s not an easy answer. There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. There’s a cost, so we have to prioritize," said Cindy Hall, education program manager for the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF).

The water quality exercise was one example of the many educational programs that the new IALF is bringing to classrooms, local events and county Farm Bureaus throughout...