Farmland Drainage Education

Name and Position/Title:
Kapil Arora, Agricultural Engineering Field Specialist

Fiscal Year Submitted:

POW Title and Number:
160 - Natural Resources and Stewardship

Farmland Drainage Education

Issue (Who cares and Why):
Agricultural farm drainage is becoming increasingly important due to the critical role it plays for Iowa’s emerging bio-economy.  Drainage systems that are properly designed and operating are essential to achieving excellent agricultural production capability.  People looking to install a new drainage system or retrofit an existing system need to be trained on drainage design concepts, economics of drainage, water management, and legal issues related to drainage. 

What Did You Do? (Outputs – these may include educational meetings, demonstrations or research, media, facilitating, partnering)
Iowa State University Extension, in collaboration with University of Missouri Extension, and Natural Resource Conservation Service delivered a three-day Iowa Drainage School.  The school trained participants on sub-surface drainage concepts, the design and layout of drainage systems, calculating line sizes and spacing using actual field data, making connections and setting up drainage control structures, and review of NRCS regulatory considerations for sub-surface drainage.

Three workshops on farmland drainage design were also conducted as part of this effort in December 2010 in Jefferson, Pella, and Calmar.  These workshops provided research based education on subsurface drainage water management to reduce environmental impacts and potentially increase yields.

Four presentations on drainage water management were made through Crop Advantage Series in Fort Dodge and Ames.  These presentations provided education on tile spacing, bio-reactors, and controlled drainage.

Results (Outcomes – was there a increase in knowledge, new skills learned, new decisions made, new practices implemented, increased profitability, new standards, enhanced quality of life)
Thirty nine participants worked through the hands-on school and 35 complete evaluations were received.  All participants completing evaluations rated the program good or excellent. All of participants rated different topics covered in the school to be good or excellent for their use.  All participants, when asked what they learned from the school and how they will use it, indicated that the school helped them to better understand drainage design concepts.

A total of 93 evaluations were received from the three workshops attended by 123 participants.  Those reporting influenced drainage decisions on approximately 79,400 acres. Participants indicated an average savings of $0.31 per acre managed and/or operated.  The overall average gain for the three workshops was reported as over $250 per participant.  Summary of evaluations received show that 24% plan to choose a drainage contractor and 51% plan to layout their own project as a result of the education received.

Page last updated: July 19, 2011
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