Curt Mether, Monona and Harrison Counties

Farms: Corn, soybeans

Conservation practices used: No-till, cover crops, terrace, grassed waterways and field and creek borders

Focused on erosion control: I farm a variety of soil types on the steep-to-rolling Loess Hills. My main focus is to slow the movement of rain down the hills, which, if uncontrolled, results in erosion. I have miles of terraces and have no-tilled since the late 1990s. I started using cover crops in 2013 on as many acres as possible to rebuild organic matter lost to erosion.

Results seen: My farming system of no-till and cover crops may be simple, but it’s effective in holding the soil in place. A quick snowmelt or excessive rain can do a lot of damage in a hurry. The practices I have in place control the erosion and improve soil health. I’m also saving on equipment, fuel and labor costs.

“Being in this part of the state gives you more incentive to add conservation practices to save the soil. It bothers me how much tillage is still happening on the sloping Iowa landscape.”

Cumulative effects: During the wet spring of 2019 I realized these practices had a cumulative effect. No-till soils have better structure, improved infiltration and more water-holding capacity. Cover crops help pull moisture deeper into the soil. The soil supported the equipment and I got the crop planted in a timely manner.

Engaged in agriculture: I stay active advocating for a strong corn economy. This includes improving soil health and water quality through the use of conservation practices. One of the greatest benefits of being an Iowa Corn member is interacting with others and learning what works on their farm and bringing new information to improve my farm.