Farmers in Action

Farmers in Action Farmers are taking a collaborative, comprehensive approach to improving water quality by adopting research-based conservation practices that best fit their farms.
Farmers are taking a collaborative, comprehensive approach to improving water quality by adopting research-based conservation practices that best fit their farms. Click on the videos below and see firsthand the diverse conservation practices they are using to help protect Iowa’s land and water for future generations.



Working together to achieve Iowa's water quality goals

Iowa's farmers have reduced phosphorus loss by 22% over the past couple of decades. Now they're using the same approach (involving innovation and collaboration) to tackle the state's nitrate goals.



Updated drainage leads to improved water quality

Did you know that updating Iowa's 100-year-old drainage system helps reduce fertilizer usage and allows crops to better absorb nutrients? When that water is channeled through new conservation structures, it leads to improved water quality for everyone.



Innovation helps farmers build on conservation success

From no-till to grassed waterways to terraces to cover crops, farmers like Jarad Weber use a variety of practices to keep soil on their fields and out of Iowa's waterways. Farmers use a variety of conservation practices to protect Iowa's water quality, and Jarad exemplifies that conservation mindset as the 2019 Conservation Farmer of the Year.



Does Iowa have too much manure?

Does Iowa have too much manure? Laurie Johns chats with Dr. Daniel Andersen, ISU Biosystems Engineer, to see what all the fuss is about. Manure is a source of nitrogen for fertilizer, and you might be surprised to learn just how valuable it is.



Mussels return to Lime Creek

If you live near Lime Creek, maybe you've noticed a return of some old friends to the water. Mussels are back in healthy numbers, showing a healthy watershed thanks in part to the efforts of local farmers. Each farm approaches water quality differently, but their efforts are having a visible impact. From riparian buffers to restored wetlands, these farmers are doing their part to protect Iowa's waterways.



Measuring soil and water conservation techniques

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.



Learning about Iowa's water quality from the seat of your bike

Bicycling in Iowa is all about enjoying the great outdoors. It's also a great way to learn about how Iowa's farmers are keeping the outdoors great. Learn more by watching the new edition of the Iowa Minute!



Finding the best conservation practices for a farm requires collaboration

Ankeny farmers Carol and Randy Miller discovered that a bioreactor was the best conservation practice for their farm - to help reduce nitrates in their watershed. But each farm is different, and finding the best conservation practices for a particular farm requires time and collaboration.



Iowa farmers are restoring "nature's nitrate filters"

Thanks to collaboration and guidance from experts at Iowa State University, Iowa's farmers have been restoring wetlands, nature's nitrate filters, for generations. See how it's making a difference for water quality.


Collaborating to measure conservation progress

See how the Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council is bringing together partners to provide farmers with conservation expertise and measure progress.




Precision agriculture playing a key role in protecting water

Today's innovative farmers use science and technology to strive for balance when applying fertilizer. By sampling soil and obtaining GPS maps of their land, Iowa farmers are able to spoon-feed their plants the appropriate amount of fertilizer, which is better for their business and better for the environment.


See how cattle under roof not only benefits livestock, but the land too

One conservation method Iowa livestock farmers utilize is keeping their animals under roof during extreme weather months. Find out why this is just another way in which Iowa's responsible farmers care for our state's land and water.


Nutrient Reduction Strategy helping farmers innovate

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…


Wildlife thriving in watersheds

Populations of fish, birds and other wildlife in Iowa watersheds are increasing thanks in part to conservation measures taken by Iowa farmers.


Nitrogen exists naturally in Iowa soil

Iowa's natural soil fertility affects the plants gardeners and farmers grow and Iowa's water quality.


Cedar Rapids is working with farmers

Iowa's natural soil fertility affects the plants gardeners and farmers grow and Iowa's water quality.


Working together for water quality at Rathbun Lake

Iowa farmers and water treatment leaders are working together to improve water quality. See how a partnership between 600 landowners and water treatment officials has reduced more than 42,000 tons of sentiment and 179,000 lbs. of phosphorus (annually) from Rathbun Lake in south central Iowa!



Farmers are investing in terraces to protect water

One of the conservation practices outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is the use of terraces, which many Iowa farmers of rolling terrain incorporate on their farms.


Northwest Iowa farmers are planning conservation strategies

As part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, farmers are using a number of different conservation strategies to continue to care for the land on which they live and work. Many of those take foresight and careful planning.



Farmers work on conservation year-round

As part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, Iowa farmers are constantly learning about new conservation technologies and implementing the most effective practices on their farms, many of which are on a voluntary basis.



Farmers use a variety of practices to preserve soil and protect water

For farmers, caring for the soil is extremely important. One way Iowa farmers do that is by no-till farming.



Farmers use bioreactors and other technology to protect water

Bioreactors are being used by farmers all over Iowa as a way of filtering water and holding in nutrients. But what exactly is a bioreactor?



Everyone has a role in protecting water quality

Watersheds are areas of land that drain to a common point and effect our water quality. We all live in a watershed, and everyone from farmers to suburban home owners play a role in keeping our water clean.



Northeast Iowa farmers take conservation to the next level

Jeff Pape and a group of northeast Iowa farmers are taking conservation and technology to the next level in the Hewitt Creek Watershed area by installing a bioreactor that has resulted in a 90% reduction in nitrates.



Central Iowa farmer shows how he cares for the land

Central Iowa corn and soybean farmer Mark Kenney shares the conservation methods he's implementing on his farm to care for the land for today and future generations.



North central Iowa farmer practices innovative tillage to protect soil and water

Matthew Bormann uses strip till as one of many conservation measures on his farm.



Conservation taking flight in Iowa

Pilot Ralph Storm discusses his role in helping Iowa farmers protect water quality.