JOHNSTON, Iowa -- Iowa has 71,665 miles of streams and more than 11,000 different types of soil. Both resources are precious to the productivity of our state. Farmers celebrate soil and water every day but, Soil and Water Conservation Week April 28 to May 2, is a good time to recognize Iowa’s innovations to conserve both soil and water resources.
“We haven’t reached perfection, yet” said Wayne Humphreys, a 4th generation farmer from Southern Iowa and the chairperson for the Iowa Corn Animal Ag and Environment Issue Committee, “but, now we can celebrate the advances we have made to make our farms better. Farmers have more knowledge about our natural resources than ever before and we are asking ourselves what we can do better.”
Over the past several decades, Iowa farmers have implemented conservation practices that have reduced erosion, runoff and sedimentation into Iowa’s water resources. These conservation practices include: soil testing, buffer and filter strips, cover crops, terraces, grassed waterways, grade stabilization structures, nutrient management, tillage and crop residue management, crop rotation and precision agriculture techniques. In fact, a study from the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University (ISU), estimates that Iowa farmers have invested about $345 million annually in conservation practices.
According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture, Iowa Soil and Water Conservation Week is an opportunity to recognize the important conservation work that has been placed on the Iowa landscape and bring attention to the ongoing work by farmers, landowners and urban residents to protect the state’s soil and water resources.
Iowa Soil and Water Conservation Week this year is being coordinated with national Stewardship Week, which is sponsored by the National Association of Conservation Districts. Events include tours, field days, and a proclamation by Iowa’s Governor Terry Branstad.
“Iowa is an agricultural state and we didn’t get to be the national leader in conservation by taking the easy route,” said Humphreys. “We need a group effort to conserve our soil and water resources.”
For more information on Soil and Water Conservation Week activities, visit IowaCorn.orgor agriculture.state.ia.us/conservationweek.asp