Doug Gronau, Crawford County

Farms: Corn and soybeans

Conservation practices used: No-till, cover crops, terraces and grassed waterways

Focused on erosion control: I switched to no-till in 2005 to stop erosion. Changing tillage made all the difference – especially after a big rain event. While soil from neighboring tilled fields tends to wash out after a heavy rain, my fields soak up the moisture. No-till works well on my land and my yields continue to improve.

Adding cover crops: I began experimenting with cover crops in 2013 to build organic matter and have made adjustments through the years. Now that I’ve increased the acres that cover crops are used on, the benefits are accumulating. I’m seeing weeds suppressed, the structure of the soil has improved and nutrients stay in the soil where they belong. These benefits more than offset the cost of seeding the cover crop.

“As farmers, we need to do all we can to keep the soil in place. It’s good for the future of our farms and the quality of the water.”

Advice for other farmers: Attending field days gives farmers the opportunity to talk to experts and other farmers that are having success with a practice like cover crops. Take advantage of the resources that are available, like cost share, to improve soil health and the quality of Iowa’s water. Start on a few acres and make adjustments before expanding a practice. This gives you the chance to compare the benefits within fields.

Engaged in agriculture: It’s important to be engaged with the commodity groups that represent the crops or livestock we raise. My involvement with Iowa Corn assures my voice is heard, and they do the leg work to make sure Iowans understand how important corn is to our economy and food security.