Posted on January 22, 2018 at 5:00 AM by Iowa Corn
Happy New Year! We hope your 2018 is off to a great start. We open this update with great news! The Iowa House of Representatives passed a water quality funding bill, which was passed by the Senate last session and is expected to be signed by the governor. The bill will ramp up funding for water quality programs with almost $300 million over 12 years. These programs will assist cities with their wastewater treatment and farmers with their in-field practices, like cover crops, and their edge-of-field practices, like bioreactors and wetlands. Click here for a statement from ICGA president Mark Recker and click here for a statement from Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.
Winter is full of opportunities for you to educate yourself on key topics related to soil health and water quality and to network with other farmers across the state. A big one for Iowa Corn is the Iowa Power Farming Show, which is being held Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. Stop by booth #852 to sign up for or renew your ICGA membership and get prizes. We are hosting soil health seminars at 11:15 a.m. on Jan. 30 and 31 in Room 311. Listen to Soil Health Partnership (SHP) farmers talk about the practices they use to improve their soil.
The fourth annual Soil Health Summit was recently held in Chicago. Hosted by the SHP, this event is a chance for farmers from across the country who are conducting SHP field trials on their farms to meet, network and get the latest updates from the SHP and its partners. Data and expansion were the two key topics. After four years of collecting thousands of soil samples, crop yields and inputs, the SHP is starting to see some results regarding the environmental and economic benefits of soil health practices. Next year, the SHP expects to be able to show over 80 multiyear comparisons of soil health practices and traditional farming practices with yield increases correlated to improved soil health by soil type.
Expansion was the other big topic, with the SHP establishing a network of 110 farms conducting soil health field trials in just four years. Such a quick ramp up has caused some growing pains, but the SHP is planning an even larger expansion with multiple options for farmers to get involved.
Andrew Lauver and his dad, Kevin, talk about the role conservation plays on their Calhoun County farm. Andrew is the fifth generation on the family farm, and he knows firsthand the work that past generations put in to ensure he would have the opportunity to farm as well. He hopes to carry on that same legacy, and conservation practices play a key role in allowing him to do that.