Jolene Riessen, Ida and Sac Counties

Farms: Corn, soybeans, alfalfa. Runs a custom cattle-feeding operation and seed business.

Conservation practices used: No-till, cover crops, waterways, terraces, buffer strips, land set aside for the Conservation Reserve Program

Value of cover crops: Cover crops help keep water from running downhill into the creeks on our farm. They also are used as a feed source for our cattle operation, so we can feed our cattle and know that we are helping the environment at the same time.

“When I think of a farmer, stewardship is a farmer’s middle name. I know that if we don’t take care of the ground, the ground isn’t going to take care of us.”

Advice for other farmers: Before planting cover crops, think through what their purpose will be – whether it’s using them strictly for conservation purposes or as a livestock feed source. Start small and increase acres as you learn how to manage the system.

Protecting the land for future generations: We are very conservation-minded at our house as our family and our landlords know the importance of taking care of the farm. We feel it is our legacy to leave the farm in better shape than when we got it.