The Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here tour visited The Big Soil Health Event at Riverside Casino in Washington County. The conference was organized by Soil Regen, a soil health consulting and education company, and Continuum Ag, an agricultural consulting company, and featured a who’s who lineup of farmers, experts, and soil health leaders.
Healthier soils lead to cleaner water. Many practices such as cover crops and reduced tillage do double duty to improve soil health and water quality. Education and financial resources are needed for farmers to adopt and adapt these practices to their farms. The event focused on soil health education and connecting industry, organizations, and farmers working in this arena.
Breakout sessions split into landowners and young farmers and experienced farmers and industry. Resources for successful conversations between landowners and farmers were provided. The breakouts were boots-on-the-ground workshops including actionable sessions on integrating regenerative practices on your farm, soil test data and interpretation, funding and incentive opportunities, carbon markets, and vertical integration and marketing.
Financing soil health practices was featured in several presentations. Direct marketing crops, farm diversification, and regenerative markets offer farmers opportunities for greater financial returns from their soil health investments.
“Peer-to-peer, farmer-to-farmer exchanges at conferences like The Big Soil Health Event help farmers overcome any barriers to adopting new practices on their farms,” stated Jim Greif, a farmer from Linn County and Iowa Corn Growers Association board member. “When we share our journeys and the benefits of soil and water quality, it makes it easier for more farmers to adopt these practices.”
About the Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here Campaign
The campaign, created by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Soybean Association and Newsradio 1040 WHO aims to raise awareness about the conservation work underway all across Iowa. It also highlights opportunities for both rural and urban residents to use soil health and water quality best practices and play an active role in conservation projects happening in their communities.
During the Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign, The Big Show will visit locations throughout the state showcasing the people and practices that are having a positive and measurable impact on water quality. The conversations with farmers, landowners, agribusinesses and community leaders will be broadcast on Wednesdays during The Big Show airing from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. on WHO and 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. on WMT.
The Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign is a collaborative effort between a dozen public and private partners, including Agri Drain, Hagie Manufacturing, Hands on Excavating, Heartland Co-op, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Montag Manufacturing, Practical Farmers of Iowa, The Nature Conservancy and TruTerra.
The Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign began in August 2020. For more information about the campaign, upcoming stops, and rural and urban soil health and water quality practices, visit cleanwateriowa.org/cleanwaterstartshere. For assistance implementing conservation practices or to get involved in a community-based project, visit a nearby USDA Service Center or Soil and Water Conservation District office.
Brandi Strautman, Public Relations Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-513-3227