You may have noticed that fields are getting greener earlier recently. We have cover crops, an important conservation practice that protects water quality, to thank for that. We're also lucky to live in a state that notices those practices as well. Iowa leads the nation in tracking conservation practices, using techniques like laser-guided aerial measurements to accurately measure the implementation of conservation practices like grassed waterways and terraces.


Iowa Minute Transcript

Laurie Johns: Ah, new tulips. You know, I planted these in the fall (and wasn't quire sure whether they'd make it through the winter, but as as a master gardener I'm always learning about ways to protect the plants, the soil, and the water. And you know, farmers are the same.  

Shawn Richmond, Director of Environmental Services, Iowa Nutrient Research & Education Council (INREC): Iowa is the only state that has a very thorough accounting of all the conservation structural practices that have been installed in every single watershed in the entire state.

Laurie Johns: A laser-guided aerial measurement system shows grassed waterways, contour farming, buffer strips, wetlands, and terraces (lots of terraces...). 

Shawn Richmond: We have more terraces, miles of terrace, in Iowa than we have miles of stream.

Laurie Johns: One practice alone, cover crops, up more than 1900% this year, has greatly reduced nitrogen and phosphorus. To learn more, check out With your Iowa Minute, I'm Laurie Johns.