AMES, Iowa – A positive improvement to any field day would be the addition of air conditioning. The Iowa Learning Farm is doing just that by hosting a “field day” in the Muscatine County Extension Office in Muscatine. The program will be held on Thursday, Aug. 2, from 6-8:30 p.m. A complimentary dinner will be served courtesy of Scott’s Outdoors, followed by the program. The public is invited to attend.
Hot topics for discussion will be the bioeconomy and no-till continuous corn production. Other agenda items include swine manure application costs and nutrient values. Mike Deahr and Doug Nolte, both Muscatine County cooperators with the Iowa Learning Farm, will be discussing their farming practices and Iowa State University Extension Water Quality Engineer Dr. Matt Helmers will demonstrate the ILF conservation systems rainfall simulator.
The Iowa Learning Farm takes a grassroots approach by developing innovative ways to help all Iowa citizens have an active role in keeping our state’s natural resources healthy. The project promotes active learning by involving producers as partners in addressing water quality challenges. It also expands local leadership by facilitating, encouraging, and strengthening the role of community conservationists, involving a broad set of partners and agencies.
Mike Deahr, a first generation farmer, has greatly reduced the amount of commercial fertilizer application through his use of hog manure. “I have had a lifelong love with the creek on my land and I want to do what I can to keep it clean,” commented Deahr. “I am a practical environmentalist. I have a desire to use natural ingredients such as fertilizer more effectively. My wife Susan and I became ILF cooperators because we were interested in learning new ideas and new techniques. We need to get the results of what we are doing to everyone in all walks of life.”
Doug Nolte, who is farming land that has been in his family for over 100 years, knows the importance of conservation. “With the slopes on my land, I would be mining the soil if I didn’t do something to curb the erosion. I get good yield results from no-till, so yield is not a factor in the no-till decision. With all the discussion of bioeconomy and continuous corn, we need to show the monetary costs of losing too much top soil and we have to start understanding the indirect costs of nutrient loss and impaired waters.”
The ILF field day will be held at the Muscatine County ISU Extension Office, 1514 Isett Avenue, in Muscatine. An RSVP is suggested; please contact the Extension office at 800-992-0894 or 563-263-5701.
Other upcoming Iowa Learning Farm field days include: Aug. 8, in Washington County at the Rob Stout farmstead, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Aug. 21 in Adair County; and Aug. 23 in Ringgold County.
The Iowa Learning Farm’s focus is helping strong conservationist farmers teach other farmers about systems that will improve the quality of the soil and water on their farms, while remaining profitable and sustainable. The Iowa Learning Farm is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa and Iowa Farm Bureau.