Cover Crop, Relay Cropping and No-Till Workshop to Be Held at Madison County Fairgrounds

Learn about cover crops during panel discussion

November 15, 2022, 2:55 pm | Alena Whitaker

AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Madison County Soil & Water Conservation District, will host a cover crop workshop Thursday, Dec. 1, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Jackson Building on the Madison County Fairgrounds in Winterset. The free event is open to farmers and landowners and includes a complimentary meal.

Iowa Learning Farms is a conservation education program with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Cover crops offer many benefits to farmers and landowners including reduced soil erosion, weed suppression potential, reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, and increased organic matter in the soil. When paired with no-tillage additional benefits include increased water infiltration and reduced erosion during heavy rain events.

Cover crops.With changes to recent Risk Management Agency federal crop insurance guidelines, interest is growing in the area of relay cropping a winter cereal grain like rye or wheat with soybeans. Relay cropping is a system where a second crop is planted into an established crop before harvesting the first crop.

Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to hear from a panel of local Madison County farmers: Dennis McLaughlin, Jon Peterson and Randy Gamble. They are going to discuss their experiences with cover crops and no-till as well as answer any questions from an operator perspective.

Ruth Blomquist, NRCS soil health specialist, will discuss a few quick and easy ways to evaluate the benefits of soil health practices on your own. Alex Schaffer, Iowa Soybean Association field services program manager, will share relay cropping. Anna Golightly, Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District conservation assistant, will discuss cost share options.

The workshop will be held at the Jackson Building on the Madison County Fairgrounds, 1146 West Summit St., Winterset.

The event is free and open to farmers and landowners, though reservations are required to ensure adequate space and food. For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP contact Alena Whitaker at 515-294-2473 or Attendees will be entered in a drawing for Iowa State Prairie Strips honey.

Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit

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