Hands-on Field Training to Promote Conservation Systems

Mahdi Al-Kaisi, Faculty, Agronomy

Problem Statement: 

Iowa faces significant challenges in the area of water quality and the adoption of conservation systems.  Research has shown that conservation system can play significant role in improving both water and soil quality and improve the economic returns.

Programmatic response: 

As a response to this challenge the Iowa Learning Farm project was established. The main goal of the Iowa Learning Farm project is to promote conservation practices to improve water quality in Iowa. This project is a partnership between ISU Extension and IDALS, DNR, and NRCS, Farm Bureau, and Conservation Districts of Iowa.  This project integrate agronomic, economic, and community aspects in promoting conservation systems. The Iowa Learning Farm brings a new dimension for developing and transferring emerging technologies and fine-tuning old ones that are community based, economically feasible, and environmentally responsible.


The training and outreach activities include field days, workshops, clinics, conferences, newsletters, conservation minutes, print media and a web page.  Hands-on training and workshops sessions conducted to address soil and water quality attended by approximately 985 producers and agricultural professionals. Education material has been developed for the project and is used in the development of informal fact sheets for field days, production of five issues of the Iowa Learning Farm newsletter. Additionally, a Conservation Rainfall Simulator was developed to demonstrate the effect of conservation practices and residue management on soil erosion and water quality.  The rain simulator was demonstrated at 7 field days and events for a total of 950 people around the state and created significant interest among people from urban and rural communities.  The immediate impact of demonstrating rain effect of soil erosion and role of residue in preventing that was significant when almost 100% of the audience understood and appreciated the value of conservation systems and residue in protecting soil and water qualities.

July 3, 2007
100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection


Page last updated: August 2, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu