Farms: Corn, soybeans, hogs, cattle
Conservation practices used: Cover crops, no-till, buffer strips, terraces, wetlands
Value of conservation: We have noticed nothing but increased yields in our career of farming, and the conservation efforts that we have in place have done nothing to slow down the yields. We've used cover crops for several years and harvested them in different ways, including rotational grazing of beef cows. We harvest the corn, drill the rye and apply manure from our hog operation for nutrients. The cows graze the corn stalks and the rye – with the rye outgrowing their nutritional needs in the spring.
“If there was ever a group of people with the ability and resources to save the soil, Iowa is the place and we are the people.”Advice for other farmers: I encourage farmers to consider livestock on their farms. Cover crops work so nicely with livestock, especially cattle, and also provide conservation and soil health benefits at the same time. We also need to think beyond our individual careers. If we lose a tenth of an inch of topsoil per year, we may think it's no big deal because we're only going to farm for 40 years. But, in 100 years, that's 10 inches. When 10 inches of Iowa's top soil is gone, there's not much left, even on the river bottoms. It's our duty to do our part to ensure the top soil is still here.