Water Quality - Official Website of Iowa Corn

Water Quality

Listen to Iowa Corn’s panel discussion on soil health

In a recent farmer to farmer panel discussion, Iowa farmers discussed soil health, conservation and water quality initiatives. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, moderated the discussion. Iowa Corn Promotion Board President, Mark Heckman, along with Iowa farmers, Steve Berger, Jolene Riessen and Jerry Mohr, discussed cover crops, preserving the land for future generations and technology’s role in conservation. Farmers from across the state came to the live event in Ames and others watched via live streaming. If you were not able to hear the discussion, you can watch the on-demand video here.


NEW: Register now to become an Iowa Corn Stewardship Advocate!

Iowa Corn Stewardship AdvocateAs we look to continue the conversation on soil health and water quality, we are excited to launch our new Iowa Corn Stewardship Advocates program. Exclusive to Iowa Corn Growers Association members, the program gives you an opportunity to stay up-to-date with hot topics, news events and upcoming stewardship activities that are most relevant to your farming operation. You will receive:

  • Monthly email updates from Iowa Corn Sustainable Program Manager, Ben Gleason, and other experts on the topics of soil health, conservation and water quality
  • Inside information on stewardship topics impacting your farm
  • The scoop on upcoming Iowa Corn stewardship activities and events

Sign up to be an Iowa Corn Stewardship Advocate.


Continue the discussion on soil health at the Iowa Power Farming Show 

  • Iowa Power Farming ShowFebruary 2 – 4, Iowa Events Center, Des Moines
  • Visit the Iowa Corn Booth #852
  • Hear what farmers had to say at the recent farmer to farmer panel discussion
  • Register to win 20 acres of Soil First® Cover Crop Seed from LaCrosse Seed
  • Sign up to be an Iowa Corn Stewardship Advocate


Iowa Corn Response to Lawsuit by DMWW

Iowa Corn supports a voluntary approach to water quality improvement.  Regulation is not the answer.  The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy recognizes that water quality is a complex issue with many variables at work. It’s not a matter of a one-size fits all approach or a quick fix, because each farm has highly unique conditions such as soil type, geography, type of production, management practices, and many other factors. Each farmer has to manage the many variables and unique conditions on his or her respective farm.

On March 11th Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) filed a lawsuit against Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac County Boards of Supervisors in their roles as governing authorities for ten drainage districts. The public policy and legal issues in this case are very important to farmers and their ability to farm, both practically and economically and could eliminate the flexibility to try new ways of improving soil and water conservation. Agricultural organizations want to work with the county supervisors and drainage districts to implement a vigorous defense and public relations effort.

A unified defense from the ten drainage districts, agricultural organizations and agribusinesses is very important to giving the defense every chance of success. Competing theories and visions of success will make the issues and defense positions less clear to a judge and will ultimately make a successful outcome more difficult. Developing a cohesive argument that addresses public relations, scientific and legal needs among all parties on the defense will also be very important moving forward.

Proactive Efforts of Iowa Corn

Regardless of the lawsuit is filed by Des Moines Water Works, Iowa Corn will continue to collaborate with other key stakeholders to focus resources on developing and implementing workable science-based solutions. Here are some projects and initiatives that Iowa Corn is involved in to improve Iowa’s water quality:

  • The Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) was created and funded by the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Pork Producers Association to advance Iowa’s voluntary, science-based nutrient reduction strategy by securing resources, promoting the adoption of conservation practices, educating the public and key decision makers and supporting research and credible data to show progress. 
  • Watershed projects led by the City of Cedar Rapids and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship were recently awarded millions in grant funding by the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program. As a committed partner for both projects, ICGA submitted letters of support as part of the extremely competitive grant application process and will support the projects as they move forward.
  • ICGA sponsored a Source Water Protection workshop on January 14 in Oakland, Iowa. The workshop brought farmers and cities together to offer opportunities to protect local drinking water supplies.
  • The Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council (INREC) is supported by ICGA and other agricultural stakeholders. The council’s three main goals include: utilize ag retailers and crop advisors to measure private sector funded conservation practice adoption; provide neutral, science-based validation of environmental products and services; and enhance the role of ag retailers and crop advisors in accelerating the adoption of conservation practices. Iowa Corn Animal Agriculture & Environment committee member Mark Mueller is a representative on the INREC board of directors.
  • The Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa State University and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship are partnering on a new effort to improve farm productivity and water quality. The project involves documenting the effectiveness of in-field and edge-of-field nutrient management practices for selected drainage districts in Palo Alto, Pocahontas and Clay Counties in Iowa.
  • ICGA supports the National Corn Growers Association’s Soil Health Partnership. The partnership is establishing a network of demonstration farms to evaluate the economic and environmental benefits of soil health practices such as cover crops and reduced tillage.
  • Iowa Corn Promotion Board has invested in research resulting in issued patents for a nitrogen use efficiency trait for corn. This allows more bushels of corn to be grown with the same amount of nitrogen fertilizer which has potential water quality benefits.


For more information on water quality and about our partnerships, click the resources below.


Watershed Project Press Release

Source Water Protection

Help Protect Your Freedom To Farm - Support the Agricultural Legal Defense Fund



© 2016 Iowa Corn Promotion Board/Iowa Corn Growers Association. All Rights Reserved.