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News Read news about Iowa’s conservation progress.
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Then versus now

6/20/2017

What do you recall about the summers of your youth? When I think of the summer of 1978, I remember bean walking with my ‘Girl Crew’ at dawn, trying to get a field done before the mid-day heat found us.

Iowa Minute: Finding the best conservation practices for a farm requires collaboration

6/15/2017

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.

Cover crop acreage is on the rise in Iowa

6/5/2017

Iowa farmers planted a record 600,000 cover crop acres last fall, using cost-share programs and on their own

Farmers' water quality efforts help trout flourish in NE Iowa

5/30/2017

Trout need clean, cold water to survive. And thanks to many Iowa farmers who are taking on the challenge to improve water quality, the fish are getting just what they need in northeast Iowa.

8 fresh water quality stats for Earth Day

4/21/2017

Earth Day is a good time for all of us to reflect on the condition of our natural resources, what we’re doing to protect them, the progress we’re making, and how we can do even more to take on the challenge of protecting them in the future.

Iowa farmers build on strong legacy of conservation

4/17/2017

As Iowa farmers take on the challenge of improving water quality through the state’s four-year-old Clean Water Initiative

New USGS tracking tool shows water quality gains in Iowa

4/17/2017

A new interactive tool developed by the U.S. Geological Sur­vey (USGS), which is designed to track long-term trends in surface water quality, shows a trend of steady to declining levels of nitrate and phosphorus in most of Iowa’s monitored rivers and streams during the decade ending in 2012.

Farmers, not lawsuit, push water quality

4/3/2017

After spending two years in court and millions of dollars of ratepayer money in legal fees, the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) appears to have accomplished very little in its lawsuit against drainage districts in three northwest Iowa counties.

DMWW lawsuit dismissed, conservation work continues

3/27/2017

Farm Bureau leaders were pleased that a federal court dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) against drainage districts in Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties and said last week that the court’s ruling will not diminish Iowa farmers’ commitment to improving water quality and saving soil.

Years of experience make Lynches believers in conservation

3/27/2017

Bob Lynch never liked moldboard plowing. When the Gilmore City-area farmer started implementing more conservation tillage on his family’s land more than 20 years ago, however, his father wasn’t comfortable with leaving “trash” on top.

A new generation carries on conservation tradition

3/27/2017

Luke Broulik and Tim Keegan are third-generation conservationist farmers on the Broulick farm in Linn County.

Southeast Iowa farmers find yield gains in cover crops, no-till

3/27/2017

A southeast Iowa farm family harvested record yields in 2016 after managing cropland soils with no-till and cover crops.

Northey: Focus on edge-of-field practices in water quality scale-up

3/27/2017

As Iowa’s innovative water quality initiative nears its fourth anniversary this spring, state agricultural and environmental officials are outlining ways that the practices in the strategy can be scaled up to reach more farmers and cover more acres across the state.

Research is aiding farmers’ work on water quality

3/27/2017

Dozens of projects co­­ordinated by the Iowa Nutrient Research Center are helping farmers understand how they can improve water quality by reducing phosphorus and nitrogen losses from their farms.

DMACC students get real-world experience in conservation

3/27/2017

Iowa farmers have been experimenting with growing cover crops on their farms

Research finds many benefits for farmers planting cover crops

3/27/2017

Iowa cover crop acres grew by approximately 32 percent to 623,700 acres, according to the newly-released Iowa Learning Farms 2016 Field Day Evaluation Report.

Millers conservation philosophy guides water quality project

3/27/2017

Taking on the challenge of improving water quality and reducing soil erosion is nothing new for Randy and Carol Miller

Collaborations help Storm Lake lead on water quality

3/27/2017

When heavy rains propelled flood waters as high as a car’s door handles in parts of Storm Lake a few years ago, James Patrick, city manager, knew something had to be done.

Did you see that? Don’t overlook Iowa’s water quality gains

3/21/2017

Cover crops, buffer strips, and wetlands might not look impressive, but they are producing some amazing results!

Iowa's water quality progress is happening in your backyard

3/20/2017

Cleaner water starts with science and goals, but ultimately it takes teams of individuals, organizations, businesses and government entities committed to getting the job done in communities around the state. That’s where Iowa’s Water Quality Initiative is truly excelling.

Poll: Conservation practices gaining ground on Iowa farms

3/20/2017

Iowa farmers are significantly increasing the use of conservation practices geared toward achieving the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, according to a new Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll released last week.

IDALS to fund projects focused on water quality

3/13/2017

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey last week announced the State Soil Conservation Comm­­ittee Research and Dem­on­stra­tion Fund has assistance available for research, education or demonstration projects focused on reducing non-point source pollution. 

Farmer says livestock and grain farmers must work together

3/13/2017

For Tama County Farm Bureau member John Weber, conservation is at the heart of his livestock and grain farm.

Practical Farmers of Iowa studies benefits of cover crops

3/13/2017

Livestock farmers are discovering that using cover crops not only boosts soil nutrient levels, but also cuts input costs because the cover crops can be used as a feed replacement for grazing cattle.

Iowa launches strategy to boost monarch butterfly population

3/6/2017

A wide-ranging consortium of Iowa farm organizations, state agencies, agribusiness companies and Iowa State University (ISU) last week launched a ground-breaking strategy to boost Iowa’s monarch butterfly population.

Iowa cover crop acreage jumps again in 2016

3/6/2017

The number of Iowa cover crop acres grew by approximately 32 percent to 623,700 acres in 2016, despite low commodity prices and tight margins

30-plus organizations team up to help re-establish monarch habitat in Iowa

2/27/2017

The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium has released a statewide strategy to support monarch butterfly recovery in Iowa and North America.

Environmental award nominations open

2/27/2017

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey are encouraging Iowans to nominate farmers who have taken on the challenge of improving water quality and saving soil for the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award.

Conservation gains neighbor to neighbor

2/27/2017

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of visiting with several of Iowa’s conservation pioneers, and I’ve often heard a common story.

Iowa officials outline plans to scale up water quality efforts

2/13/2017

As more Iowa farmers step up to take on the challenge of improving water quality, state and academic leaders last week outlined plans to scale up practices and build momentum for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.

Baders earn IPPA environmental award

2/6/2017

The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) presented its 2016 Iowa Environmental Steward Award to Black Hawk County Farm Bureau members Ben and Anna Bader of Jesup.

No time to ease up on water quality

2/6/2017

I bumped into my friend, Al Schafbuch, at a conference last week.

Study finds cereal rye cover crop has little effect on corn yields and may help soybeans

2/6/2017

Cereal rye cover crops added to a corn-soybean rotation have little to no negative effect on yield and actually increased soybean yields in seven site-years and corn yield in two-sites years

ISU’s soil health conference set for Feb. 16-17 in Ames

2/6/2017

The second annual Iowa Soil Health Conference is set for Feb. 16 and 17 in Ames.

Soil health partnership setting sites for 2017 field days

2/6/2017

The Soil-Health Partnership (SHP) is in the process of setting dates and locations for field days that will provide information about long-term studies the organization that began in 2016.

Pork group offers funding for water quality projects

1/30/2017

The Iowa Pork Producers As­­sociation (IPPA) is partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to offer additional cost-share dollars to pig farmers installing new nutrient loss reduction technologies.

Northey: Iowa farmers making water quality gains

1/30/2017

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey last week told lawmakers in a report that farmers are continuing to expand their efforts to improve water quality.

Iowa Farm Bureau pleased with Iowa Supreme Court ruling on the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit

1/27/2017

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) members are pleased that the Iowa Supreme Court is upholding a century of precedent and established Iowa law by rejecting those aspects of the Des Moines Water Works’ lawsuit against drainage districts in Sac, Calhoun and Buena Vista counties, which were referred to the court.

An open call for nominations to find Iowa's best conservation farmer

1/23/2017

Nominations are now being sought to find the 2017 Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year, a prestigious honor with a substantial prize; the winner receives use of a new John Deere 6E utility tractor for a year.

Securing dedicated water quality funding, coupling with federal tax policy, and protecting property taxpayers top Iowa Farm Bureau's 2017 legislative priorities

1/10/2017

Members of Iowa’s largest grassroots farm organization plan to focus their 2017 legislative lobbying strength on issues that stand to impact all Iowans, including advancing water quality, coupling with Section 179, and protecting property taxpayers.

USDA, partners invest in Iowa conservation

1/3/2017

The U.S. Department of Agri­culture (USDA) and its conservation partners will direct $3.2 million towards two new conservation projects in eastern Iowa to improve water quality and enhance soil health

Farmers share conservation stories to build water quality momentum

12/12/2016

There’s a new set of discussion topics these days at farm meetings around Iowa.

Water quality: Some assembly required

12/12/2016

Some assembly required. Those three words strike fear in the hearts of parents as Christmas approaches...

98th Iowa Farm Bureau Annual Meeting celebrates innovation, accomplishments of agriculture

12/7/2016

Members of the state’s largest grassroots farm organization gathered in Des Moines, 1,000 strong, to celebrate the many ways agriculture helps Iowans “Believe, Lead and Achieve” a path of success in rural Iowa.

The secret ingredient to water quality

11/14/2016

As we have witnessed this year more than any other, life is about change. Whether change is brought about with much hand-wringing or embraced as a bold, new challenge, change can only be successful if it walks arm-in-arm with its old friend: Patience.

Farmers taking on challenge of water quality

11/14/2016

There’s plenty of evidence from many different sources piling up these days that shows Iowa farmers are serious about taking on the challenge of improving the state’s water quality.

Question: Why do I keep seeing green crops growing in just-harvested cornfields across the state this fall?

11/9/2016

Spring, of course, is the traditional planting season in Iowa. Each year, farmers hustle to get their seeds of corn, soybeans and other crops sown in the state’s deep, rich soil.

Farmers have top-notch ally in water quality

11/7/2016

Iowa farmers, as we’ve chronicled in the Spokesman, are taking on the challenge of improving the state’s water quality.

Conservation for the future

10/28/2016

The Green family in northeast Iowa honored as conservation farmers of the year.

Tight budgets aren’t slowing interest in cover crops

10/17/2016

Depressed corn and soybean prices aren’t deterring Iowa farmers from planting cover crops this fall, says Sarah Carlson, Midwest cover crop director for Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI).

Growing more food, using fewer resources

10/11/2016

Smart people from all over the world will gather in central Iowa this week during the World Food Prize celebration to discuss the best ways to feed the world’s growing population, while protecting the environment.

The report card is in; water quality progress shows through

10/10/2016

Iowa’s three-year-old Water Quality Initiative is off to a strong and very promising start. How do we know that? Simple: it’s the report card.

Recent deluge shows value of conservation

10/3/2016

These days the excitement of the start of the 2016 Iowa harvest is trending big all over social media.

Iowa shoppers trust farmers to care for animals, environment

9/30/2016

Iowa grocery shoppers place trust in Iowa farmers, with 66 percent placing a great deal of trust in them, according to the latest Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index® conducted in late summer.

Report shows progress on Iowa’s water quality initiative

9/12/2016

Iowa farmers and communities, with the help of government agencies, ag organizations and Iowa State University (ISU), continue to make steady and measurable progress on reaching the goals of Iowa’s water quality initiative, officially called the Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS).

Work by farmers and landowners transforms western Iowa lake into a premier fishing spot

9/12/2016

There are many ways to measure the success of Black Hawk Lake restoration efforts, but perhaps the most visible occurred this summer when the 922-acre lake was filled with boatloads of South Dakotans casting for walleye.

Collaboration, education key to water quality efforts

9/12/2016

As farmers look to improve water quality in the state, partnerships and education are key, farmers and other leaders said last week at a field day in Rembrandt.

Iowa Farm Bureau members Dale and Karen Green win Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year Award

8/29/2016

Two Castalia family farmers, known just as much for their strong conservation ethic as well as their big maple syrup festival, are winners of the 2016 Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year award.

Greens earn statewide award for ongoing conservation efforts

8/29/2016

Dale and Karen Green’s Winneshiek County farm is all about sustainability.

Cover crop season

8/26/2016

Are you seeing green in a newly harvested cornfield? Expect to see more cover crops in fields this fall.

Iowa family’s heritage strengthened by determination and years of conservation

8/24/2016

Sustainability may be a buzz word today, but it was alive and well last week at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Iowa Farm Bureau’s Century and Heritage Farm Awards at the Iowa State Fair.

Branstad says he’s optimistic about water quality funding

8/22/2016

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said he’s optimistic that Iowa will develop a long-term, sustainable water quality funding program within the next few years to supplement farmers’ own efforts to improve water quality and reduce soil loss.

Awards provide a look at water quality gains

8/22/2016

Want a positive jolt of optimism about how Iowa farmers are taking on the challenge of improving water quality and re­­ducing soil loss?

Iowa Farmer Today: Illinois farmers applaud Iowa’s collaborative conservation

8/18/2016

Twenty members of the Illinois Farm Bureau who visited Iowa this week on a nutrient issues tour left the state with a greater appreciation for Iowa’s collaborative approach to water quality issues after meeting with stakeholders across the state.

Illinois farmers impressed by Iowa’s collaboration, aggressive adoption of water quality practices

8/17/2016

The Governor, Secretary of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources director, and mayor of Cedar Rapids walk into a room… It’s no joke. As 15 Illinois farmers learned last week, Iowa is pursuing water quality solutions in ways that may seem laughable in other places.

Illinois farmers impressed with Iowa’s water quality effort

8/15/2016

Farm Bureau members from Illinois, who traveled west to Iowa last week to assess their neighboring state’s work in water quality, came away thoroughly impressed.

A neighbor's perspective on water quality

8/15/2016

Sometimes it’s instructive to get a neighbor’s point of view when trying to gauge progress on a challenging project, such as Iowa’s ongoing efforts to improve water quality.

Iowa farm environmental leaders to be recognized at state fair

8/8/2016

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad will lead Iowa officials in recognizing more than 90 farmers who have earned Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards for 2016.

Polk Co. farmer doubles up to improve water quality

8/8/2016

Polk County farmer Kurt Lehman, collaborating with others in the central Iowa research and conservation community, made a big investment in water quality last week.

Spotlighting farmers’ water quality efforts at the Iowa State Fair

8/8/2016

I’ve been around Iowa agriculture a long time, but last week was a first for me: I visited a field where a farmer was having a saturated buffer and a bioreactor installed side-by-side. It was pretty cool to see all of that water quality improvement action in one spot. But it might not be the last time dual installation happens around the state, given the way that farmers all over Iowa are tackling the challenge of improving water quality.

Conservation partners

7/29/2016

Farm Bureau Park at the Iowa State Fair will showcase farmers' efforts to protect water quality.

Visitors to Farm Bureau Park can learn about protecting Iowa’s soil at Conservation Station

7/25/2016

Did you know one shovel full of soil contains more living things than people on planet Earth? More than 7 billion!

Water quality academy showcases farmers’ conservation efforts

7/18/2016

Legislators got a closer look recently at what farmers are doing to protect water quality in northern Iowa.

35-plus conservation field days around Iowa

7/4/2016

Looking for an opportunity to learn more about new conservation opportunities for your farm? Check out one of the 35-plus conservation field days listed on ConservationCountsIowa.com!

Water quality partners

7/1/2016

Community joins together to improve water quality at Black Hawk Lake.

Study shows farmers’ efforts can improve water quality

6/27/2016

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Department of Agri­culture (USDA) shows that collaborative conservation and water quality efforts by farmers, ag retailers and government agencies can reduce nitrogen losses to rivers and streams by as much as 34 percent in Iowa and other states in the Mississippi River Basin.

Farmers, advisors work toward  achieving water quality goals

6/20/2016

The leaders of the Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council (INREC) strongly believe that collaboration by a wide range of private and public groups is the key to helping the state’s farmers achieve conservation and water quality goals.

Collaboration enhances conservation on marginal acres

6/20/2016

Collaborations are sprouting up all across Iowa these days as farmers and others team up to reduce nutrient loss and improve the state’s water quality.

Iowa Minute: Iowa farmers are restoring "nature's nitrate filters"

6/17/2016

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.

Iowa Farm Bureau relaunches conservation website for farmers and all Iowans, packed with information demonstrating water quality progress

6/17/2016

Today, Iowa Farm Bureau relaunched ConservationCountsIowa.com with updated content for farmers and non-farmers alike to see the progress being made through the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, Iowa’s collaborative, research-based strategy for water quality improvement.

Farmer sees benefits in letting cover crops grow tall

6/6/2016

Doug Adams heard the coffee-shop talk last spring when a rye cover crop in one of his fields grew seemingly out of control, reaching shoulder-high in a field due to be planted to soybeans.

Study shows added corn acres in Raccoon River watershed did not raise nitrate delivery levels

6/6/2016

The delivery of nitrates in rivers and streams in the Raccoon River watershed stayed steady — or actually decreased in some areas — despite an increase in corn acreage during the 15-year period from 1999 to 2014, according to a new study published in late May by the University of Iowa (UI).

Iowa farmers are stepping up to improve soil health

5/31/2016

Mark Mueller talks easily about all of the agronomic benefits he’s noticed since he started planting cover crops on his Bremer County farm — excellent weed control, a new revenue opportunity and, hopefully in few years, improved crop yields.

County Farm Bureaus leading the way in conservation

5/23/2016

County Farm Bureaus all over Iowa are stepping up in their local communities this year to lead the effort to improve water quality, limit nutrient loss and reduce soil erosion.

Iowa Minute: Collaborating to measure conservation progress

5/18/2016

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

Conservation cost-share funds available for Iowa farmers

5/16/2016

The Iowa Department of Agri­culture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) last week opened another sign-up period for cost share funds to help farmers install conservation and water quality improvement practices.

ISU launches collaboration to improve water quality

4/25/2016

Iowa State University last week announced it is beginning a state-funded project in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council (INREC) to explore how to best measure Iowa farmers’ progress in reducing nutrients moving from fields into rivers and streams.

Research shows benefits of keeping cover crops longer

4/25/2016

Research at Iowa State Uni­ver­sity (ISU) suggests that an additional period of cover crop growth prior to planting soybeans results in high cover crop biomass production, nitrogen retention and has no negative effect on yields.

Iowa Farm Bureau supports House proposal to fund continued conservation progress

4/6/2016

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) members applaud the House proposal to prioritize existing funds towards sustainable water quality and soil conservation practices, which protect Iowa’s fertile fields and watersheds.

Buena Vista County farmer’s commitment to protecting soil and water spans decades

3/28/2016

Call him the farmer who embraced conservation when conservation wasn’t cool. Orlando “Olie” Leimer knew there had to be a better way when he saw dust storms blacken the Iowa sky decades ago.

Public-private partnerships bolster five watershed projects

3/28/2016

More than $47 million in public and private investments will help farmers in five key Iowa watersheds quickly scale up conservation practices that improve water quality beginning this year.

Minton aims to leave land ‘better than we found it’

3/28/2016

Natural resource conservation continues to be a priority for Iowa farmers. And year after year, Iowa farmers like Tim Minton are preventing soil erosion and protecting water quality with conservation practices.

Cover crops gaining momentum with farmers

3/28/2016

Iowa farmers are continuing to implement new conservation practices on thousands of acres to reduce the loss of nutrients to surface waters under the state’s nutrient reduction strategy, which was adopted in 2013

Meier innovates with cutting-edge conservation efforts

3/28/2016

Nick Meier’s lifelong passion for conservation and water quality has led to his use of a range of conservation practices on his farm near La Porte City, including some that are still on the cutting edge.

Farmers adapting to heavier springtime rainfall patterns

3/28/2016

It’s not just your imagination. It really is raining more in the springtime than it used to, according to Christopher Anderson, assistant director of the Climate Science Program at Iowa State University.

Measuring Iowa’s march to reaching water quality goals

3/28/2016

As more farmers adopt practices outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy farmers, agricultural leaders, ag retailers and others are increasingly focused on measuring the effectiveness of the pioneering plan to improve the state’s waters and reduce nitrogen and phosphorus delivery to the Gulf of Mexico.

ISU using data from many sources to track conservation progress

3/28/2016

With measurement coming into sharper focus on Iowa’s nutrient reduction strategy, Laurie Wissler is ready to take on the challenge of getting a better handle on farmers’ progress in water quality improvement and soil conservation.

Innovation keeps family at the forefront of conservation

3/28/2016

Dean Sponheim calls himself the “accidental conservationist.”

ISU poll: Farmers are adopting, investing in conservation

3/14/2016

Iowa farmers have substantially changed their tillage and other farming practices in the past decade to conserve topsoil, reduce nutrient losses and improve water quality, according to a new poll released last week by Iowa State University (ISU).

5 fresh stats prove Iowa’s water quality progress

3/10/2016

Iowa’s water is like a college basketball team that’s elevating its play heading into the tournament.It’s not perfect (the “talking heads” on the sidelines can point to its flaws), but there’s no doubt...

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