Conservation Learning Group Awarded Blue Ribbon for Conservation Manual

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers recognizes hands-on manual for farmers

July 20, 2021, 10:31 am | Ann Staudt

AMES, Iowa – The Conservation Learning Group, a think tank-based organization at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dedicated to addressing conservation and environmental challenges, has been recognized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers with a 2021 Educational Aids Blue Ribbon for CLG’s Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual. The ASABE Educational Aids Blue Ribbon Awards Competition promotes excellence in informational materials that contribute to the understanding of agricultural and biological engineering subjects outside of the traditional classroom setting.

Conservation practices.“We are proud to receive this recognition from ASABE, and equally honored by the feedback we have received from farm operators throughout Iowa who have found the information and decision trees in the manual helpful in making conservation decisions,” said Matthew Helmers, director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and dean's professor in Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “The manual was a product of several ideas and perspectives from a broad range of disciplines. Our goal was to put the best and latest science-based information and engineering knowledge into a practical and intuitive manual. This award is further validation that we achieved what we set out to do.”

Developed in cooperation with the Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance and Practical Farmers of Iowa, and with the support and input from multiple local, state and federal organizations, the manual provides essential guidance and tools for farmers to utilize in planning for and implementing conservation practices for all areas of their farms.

Offering a comprehensive set of resources prepared for the practical perspective of the farmer, the manual is not meant to be read cover-to-cover, but rather to be used.

It covers in-field topics including tillage management, cover crops and diverse rotations, and edge-of-field practices such as wetlands, bioreactors, saturated buffers, controlled drainage and prairie strips. The manual also provides detailed information regarding implementation and expected outcomes as well as comprehensive graphical decision trees to aid farmers in determining the best approaches for each area on their farm.

To order or download a free copy of the Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual, visit the ISU Extension Store.

This manual is a joint publication of Iowa State University and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under No. 6000004181.

Conservation Learning Group is a collaborative team established to advance training, outreach and research across land uses and production systems to increase overall sustainability of agricultural and natural systems for multiple generations to come. CLG draws on experts in various disciplines to deliver engaging science-based outreach to farmers, agricultural advisers, landowners, decision makers, youth and communities. To learn more about Conservation Learning Group visit


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