DYERSVILLE, Iowa — Farmers are rediscovering the many ways cover crops benefit soil health, from improving soil structure to reducing soil erosion and nutrient runoff. These same advantages are also directly linked to better water quality — which is why some farmers in the Hewitt Creek watershed of northeastern Iowa have been participating in a project that’s tracking how planting cover crops affects the health of local streams in the watershed.
Jeff Pape, owner of Rubly Farms and chairman of the Hewitt Creek watershed council, is one farmer who has been testing cover crops on his land. He will host a field day in partnership with Iowa Learning Farms, Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Hewitt Creek Watershed Improvement Association on Wednesday, June 26, from 10 a.m. to noon, at his farm near Dyersville. The field day, Cover Crops in Hewitt Creek Watershed, is free and will include a complimentary lunch. The field day is sponsored by KB Seed Solutions.
Topics covered will include cover crops and soil health, cover crop management and strategies to reduce nutrient loss. Attendees will have a chance to learn about the history of the Hewitt Creek Watershed Project and opportunities for participation. The event also will feature talks by Jerry Hatfield, plant physiologist with the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment; Mike Castellano, assistant agronomy professor at Iowa State University; and area farmers participating in the Hewitt Creek Watershed Project.
The field day site is located at Rubly Farm, one-half mile west of the intersection of Dyersville East Road and Pape Road, northeast of Dyersville.
Practical Farmers of Iowa 2013 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including Albert Lea Seed, Bio Till Cover Crops of Saddle Butte Ag, Calcium Products Inc., CROPP Cooperative of Organic Valley/Organic Prairie Family of Farms, Gateway Market, Featherman Equipment, Grain Millers Inc., Green Light Renewable Services, Harvest Innovations, Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying Inc., the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Food Systems Council, Iowa Learning Farms, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU, Midwest Organic Services Association, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, the National Center for Appropriate Technology, USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Platinum Supplemental Insurance, SunRackSolar, and the Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.
Contact: Tamsyn Jones, PFI communications specialist, 515-232-5661