A Passion to Showcase Soil Health Builds Consultant Success

By Kurt Lawton Taking a more holistic view of farming — from the health of microbes in the soil to the health of crop profits — has farmers paying attention to a young soil health consultant in eastern Iowa. Mitchell Hora’s data-driven approach to soil biology, combined with his passion for on-farm research and education[…]

Unique Approach for Landowner Outreach – Letters from Lee Gravel

By: Sarah Feehan, IAWA Communications Intern The workplace of the North Raccoon watershed implementation coordinator, Lee Gravel, is designed to accommodate ergonomics for computer work. As a result, Gravel’s standing desk occupies much of his actual “desk” area and handwriting letters can prove difficult. With his ballpoint pen in hand, Gravel leaves his normal work[…]

Iowa Delegation Aims for Waves of Change for Water Quality

By: Sarah Feehan The Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) and the Iowa Soybean Association will soon lead their third Iowa delegation to the upcoming One Water Summit, convened by the U.S. Water Alliance. Last year, the diverse Iowa delegation included Lee Gravel, watershed coordinator for the Headwaters of the North Raccoon Water Quality Improvement Project[…]

Best is Yet to Come in Improving Iowa’s Water Quality

Recently, the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS) turned five years old. Sean McMahon, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance Executive Director, reflects on the progress made to date and the work still required to improve water quality. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Iowa’s farmers have made tremendous progress reducing soil erosion by adopting practices such as no-till or strip-till, grass waterways,[…]

Southeast Iowa Farmer: Tweaks To Planter For Cover Crop Seeding

Steve Berger, a demonstration farm participant in the Soil Health Partnership, started to no-till in 1978. He has experimented with cover crops since 2000 and has planted all of his farm to cereal rye for the past 10 years. Berger knows that adding cover crops to your farm’s system isn’t simple. The Wellman, Iowa, farmer[…]

Northern Iowa Cover Crop Pioneer: Start Slow, Terminate Early

Wayne Fredericks, a strong conservationist and former president of the Iowa Soybean Association, began no-till soybean planting in 1992 and started strip-tilling corn in 2001.  He began testing strips of cereal rye cover crops in 2012 on his farm near Osage in Mitchell County. Last fall, he seeded rye ahead of all of this year’s[…]

Collaboration through Fourmile Creek Watershed for Water Quality

John Swanson has a lifelong fondness for Fourmile Creek. “I grew up playing in Fourmile Creek as a kid,” he says. Swanson is the watershed management authority coordinator for Fourmile Creek, along with two other watersheds in the Des Moines area. Following is an overview of improvements planned and underway in each of Fourmile Creek’s[…]

Central Iowa Watershed Plan Engages Urban Rural Collaboration

Urban and rural stakeholders continue to work together to determine the right combination of practices needed to form an integrated system that best meets local watershed and priority resource needs. A rusty mailbox is all that remains on a house lot on a nearly abandoned street in Des Moines. It marks one way the city[…]