AMES, Iowa – The Iowa Learning Farm is hosting a field day at the Joel and Linda Zwiefel farmstead, rural Fenton, Iowa. The field day will be on June 29, from 10-11:30 a.m. The public is invited to attend. Morning refreshments will be provided courtesy of Farm Credit Services of America, Spencer office.
The Zwiefels, cooperators with the Iowa Learning Farm project, will be demonstrating and discussing how they successfully manage no-tillage corn following corn rotation; one field in particular is in the sixth year of this application. Also on the agenda will be Iowa State University (ISU) Extension Agricultural Engineer Mark Hanna, who will discuss planter modifications for successful no-till corn-on-corn stand establishment, and ISU Extension Water Quality Engineer Matt Helmers who will demonstrate the ILF conservation systems rainfall simulator.
“Through the years, our yields have increased as the organic material and health of the soil has improved,” stated Zwiefel. “Our water and wind erosion is significantly reduced. I can’t imagine how we could manage these fields any better.” His wife Linda added, “Come out to our farm and take a look. It works. I think it will work for anyone.”
ISU Extension Field Crop Specialist Paul Kassel is helping to organize the event. “The Zwiefels have been innovative in their approach to tillage systems for corn on corn,” commented Kassel. “They have successfully adapted a no-till system on some fields where soil erosion can be a problem.”
The Iowa Learning Farm project 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.
Kassel sees the value of the project from several aspects. “The ILF project has allowed farmers to develop new soil saving tillage practices while receiving technical assistance from Iowa State University Extension.”
The event will be held at Zwiefel’s farmstead, south of Fenton in Kossuth County, located on 280th Street; from the intersection of U.S. Highway 18 and State Highway 15 (west of Algona), six miles north on Highway 15, then one-half mile west.
Upcoming Iowa Learning Farm Field Days include: Aug. 2 in Muscatine County; Aug. 8 in Washington County; Aug. 21 in Adair County; and August 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 Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa National Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa and Iowa Farm Bureau.