FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2019
Zita Quade (IAWA)
Ogle Recognized with Circle of Excellence in Second Year of IAWA Iowa Watershed Awards
AMES, IOWA – Erin Ogle, watershed coordinator for the Taylor County Water Quality Initiative (WQI) Project, was honored yesterday with the Circle of Excellence award from the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) as part of the second annual Iowa Watershed Awards program.
Ogle was honored alongside four other watershed coordinators who also received IAWA Iowa Watershed Awards for their multitude of contributions and steadfast dedication to improving water quality across the state.
IAWA Executive Director Sean McMahon and Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach Water Quality Program Manager Jamie Benning announced these recipients at the 2019 Iowa Water Conference in Ames, Iowa.
Farm the Best, Regenerate the Rest
Ogle was recognized with the Circle of Excellence award because of her successful convening of stakeholders and streamlining of common water quality, soil health, and sustainability goals.
The Taylor County WQI Project began in 2016 and was recently renewed for phase two, which will take place over the next three years.
Partners include Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), EFC Systems Inc., Taylor County SWCD, ISU Extension, the Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Corn, Green Cover Seed, NRCS, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Forage and Grassland Council, Iowa Learning Farms, Hughes Feed and Supply, Weller Seed Supply, and the Taylor County Farm Bureau.
“The project’s stakeholders are supportive and want to see us succeed,” says Ogle. In fact, the county commissioners have a slogan, ‘Farm the best, Regenerate the rest’ which she tries to instill in her work with producers.
Ogle explains this means refocusing marginal acres that are currently in row crop production. “One of the main goals is to seed down side hills to help prevent erosion and improve soil and water quality,” she says.
Partnering with EFC Systems, the WQI uses the company’s web-based Profit Zone Manager (PZM) too to visually compare scenarios on fields to determine which practices, rotations, or land management changes will maximize return on investment for farmers and landowners.
This has proven to be a success for Ogle and the Taylor County WQI Project with 100 producers participating in evaluating long-term land use on more than 1,500 acres.
“They know the success of this project will not only benefit them now, but also their families and the next generation,” she explains.
“I absolutely love what I do and how diverse my job is,” says Ogle. Her responsibilities include public relations to science-based research and working with private and governmental entities.
To help maintain momentum for this work, Ogle will receive funding through the IAWA Iowa Watershed Awards to apply to the Taylor County WQI as well as funding for his own professional development.
She majored in agriculture engineering at Kansas State University and has found her role as a watershed coordinator to be a perfect match.
Ogle also enjoys learning from the producers she works with. “The producers are fantastic,” she says. “They teach me something new every time I visit with them. Being able to help them with their operations is a great give-and-take relationship.”
IAWA developed the Iowa Watershed Awards program with ISU Extension and Outreach, Conservation Districts of Iowa, IDALS, and the Iowa DNR.
“Erin’s work in subfield-scale profitability analysis is on the cutting edge of precision agriculture and conservation,” McMahon says. “Helping producers improve their ROI while also improving water quality is a slam dunk win-win for all Iowans. We’re pleased to honor Erin’s work and that of the other watershed coordinators who are helping to implement the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”
The Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) is increasing the pace and scale of farmer-led efforts to improve water quality in Iowa. Founded in 2014 by Iowa Corn, the Iowa Soybean Association, and the Iowa Pork Producers Association, IAWA is building public-private partnerships focused on implementing water quality solutions. Iowa farmers are actively engaged in various conservation efforts that improve water quality. Learn more at www.iowaagwateralliance.com.