January 22, 2017

Conversation About Water Quality and Soil Health Conservation

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Three blue chairs to join our Conservation Conversation

Troy Elbert

Troy Elbert is a farmer in Pocahontas County, Iowa. He has practiced strip-tilling for 15 years. He no-tills soybeans and ten years ago he began planting cover crops. Troy has found that strip-tilling and cover crops help improve soil health and water infiltration on his land.

He helped lead a discussion recently in the Headwaters of the North Raccoon.

We’ve seen some real changes in our soil health. The soil actually becomes more forgiving.

So, when you look at that with soil health and what these things do by keeping something growing out there, I think it’s going to benefit us for production. We’ve seen some benefits ourselves that we feel are very sustainable and hope to carry forward for future years.

I think if you give it a look, a fair look, you’ll be surprised…to the good side…in time.

Iowa Secretary of Ag Bill Northey

Recently, we hosted a “Conservation Conversation” with the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) . This episode was hosted in the Headwaters of the North Raccoon. During the event, we caught up with former Iowa Secretary of Ag Bill Northey. He gave us an update on the collaborative effort between urban and rural stakeholders to improve water quality across Iowa.

I’m very pleased with the kinds of interest I’m seeing with producers out in the country and landowners and farmers. Folks are engaging. We’re seeing folks try new practices – more acres of cover crops, more folks interested in wetlands, saturated buffers or bioreactors.

Those that have used cover crops several years are putting them over more acres. And, they’re doing it in a time when the economics in agriculture are a little tougher.

They’re investing in the future – investing in control and erosion. Investing in keeping those nutrients on the land and making long-term decisions by participating now in a way that will be good for their operation, but also good for water quality in Iowa.