Conservation Q&A

Conservation Q&A Learn about the many innovative ways farmers are creating solutions on their farms to improve Iowa’s land and water quality.

You’ve heard the terms: riparian buffers, cover crops, bioreactors. But what are they and how are they helping farmers make a difference in water quality? Check out the videos below to see the many innovative ways farmers are creating solutions on their farms to improve Iowa’s land and water.

Riparian Buffer

What is a riparian buffer? If you're not sure, you're not alone. Riparian buffers work as natural walls and filters, using native plants to keep our waterways clean. They keep nutrients from the field out of the watershed and they provide habitats for local wildlife, from fish to birds to deer. Riparian buffers improve Iowa water quality and look great, too! Check out our video to learn more.                                                                                    



Iowa farmers are innovators and it seems like every day, they find new ways to use cutting edge technology to improve the land and watershed. See what’s buzzing in farm fields across the state…



Farming has changed, and so has the way farmers prepare the land for planting. Now, many farmers embrace ‘no till’. See how it works…


Conservation Tillage

What is conservation or strip-tilling? Iowa farmers use of this conservation practice to protect the land is up 110 percent in the last 25 years. Take a look to see how it works…


Saturated Buffer

Iowa leads the nation in the number of conservation buffers, which naturally filter sediment and nutrients out of water. A saturated buffer is a relatively new conservation practice that allow scientists to monitor water that flows from farm fields after periods of heavy rain.



Wetlands are nature's sponges - filtering out nitrates and helping with flood control. Iowa farmers are working with conservation experts to restore Iowa wetlands.



There are over 10,000 pounds of naturally occurring nitrogen per acre in typical Iowa soil. That's true whether you're standing in a corn field or your front porch. Farmers might apply 150 to 200 pounds per acre per year to fertilize a corn crop and continue to feed the world. We're blessed with some of the most fertile, productive soil in the world, and soil scientists say the main source of water quality problems is a lack of crop growth during the year, when the soil is warm and wet. By growing crops to use that nitrogen, farmers are actually helping to keep the soil in place and out of waterways.