West Branch Field Day Will Discuss Cover Crops and Conservation Leases

July 31, 2019, 2:49 pm | Liz Juchems

AMES, Iowa — Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and National Wildlife Foundation, will host a cover crops and conservation leases field day Thursday, Aug. 22, from 5-7 p.m. at Ken Fawcett’s farm near West Branch. The event is free, open to the entire family and includes a complimentary meal.

cover crop growing in corn stubble.Discussing a new conservation practice with your tenant or landlord can be challenging. This field day provides an opportunity for landowners and tenants to learn more about cover crops and adding conservation practices to the lease agreement.

The field agenda includes a demonstration of the Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Station rainfall simulator to show how different land management choices impact infiltration and water quality. Virgil Schmitt, extension field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach, will discuss different planting techniques, tips on species selection and herbicide considerations for adding cover crops. Chris Henning, Greene County landowner and crop-share farmer, will tell how she is partnering with her tenant to implement conservation practices on her land and provide some insight for women landowners to begin the conservation conversation.

Charles Brown, ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialist, will conclude the program with his experiences with cover crops on his farm and tips for working alongside tenants for adding conservation to the lease. Joe Dixon, Cedar County NRCS district conservationist brings information on cost share opportunities. Following the meal, Ken Fawcett will lead a tour of conservation practices on his farm, and Matt McAndrew and Paul Brandt with MB Water will provide a water quality demonstration.

Cover crops are gaining popularity among farmers and landowners thanks to the many benefits that can be achieved. These include reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies improving water quality, increased soil organic matter, improved soil health, reduced soil erosion, and expanded grazing and forage acres.

The workshop will be held at Ken Fawcett’s farm, 459 290th Street, West Branch. From West Branch, head east on Highway F44/290th St. for three miles. The farm will be located on the north side of the road. The event is free and open to the whole family, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Please RSVP to Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or ilf@iastate.edu.

Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. Contact Ken Fawcett at 319-430-2391 for reasonable accommodations.

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit www.iowalearningfarms.org.

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