Iowa Learning Farms hosts field day at Abbe Hills Farm near Mt. Vernon

Ames, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms, along with Practical Farmers of Iowa, will host a “Visit to the Farm” at Abbe Hills Farm near Mt. Vernon on Sunday, August 4, beginning at 4:00 p.m. The event will focus on urban conservation, sustainable vegetable production, and practicing conservation on farmland to improve water quality. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Laura Krouse has been operating Abbe Hills Farm, a 72-acre farm in Linn County, for 25 years growing vegetables for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group that serves around 200 families. She has established many practices for conserving soil and improving water quality including cover crops, a restored wetland surrounded by native prairie, and using integrated pest management techniques. Krouse also raises poultry and grows seed for an open-pollinated variety of corn that has been on the farm since 1903.

Krouse will offer attendees a tour of her gardens, fields with cover crops, and the wetland and prairie area. Wayne Petersen, urban conservationist with Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), will be on hand to talk about things a suburban landowner can do to help improve water quality on their property and in their community. Iowa Learning Farms will have the Conservation Station to see, too. Its rainfall simulator shows the effects of rainfall on several different surfaces, including intense tillage, perennial vegetation and permeable pavers for streets and driveways.

Abbe Hills Farm is located at 825 Abbe Hills Road, Mt. Vernon. From Cedar Rapids: Take Mt. Vernon Road southeast to Abbe Hills Road. Turn left (east) and travel for about one mile. From Mt. Vernon: Take County Road X20 (8th Ave) north out of town for one mile. Turn left (west) onto Abbe Hills Road. The farm is one mile from the intersection.

Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers, advancing profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-to-farmer networking, farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call (515) 232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.

Iowa Learning Farms takes a grassroots approach offering innovative ways to help all Iowans have an active role in keeping our state’s natural resources healthy and not take them for granted. A goal of Iowa Learning Farms is to build a Culture of Conservation, encouraging the adoption of residue management and conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best in-field management practices that increase water and soil quality while remaining profitable. For more information, go to: www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf.

Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa, the Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa Water Center.

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