ILF To Host Soil Health Field Day

ILF To Host Soil Health Field Day

July 30 event at Albert City will focus on soil health, using no-till, strip till and using cover crops.

Iowa Learning Farms, along with Practical Farmers of Iowa, will host a soil health day in Albert City in northwest Iowa on Tuesday, July 30, beginning at 4 p.m. The event will focus on soil health, primarily no-till and strip till as well as using cover crops.

FIND IDEAS THAT WORK: Field days sponsored by ILF and PFI include presentations and discussions with farmers who are testing various management practices. This summer they're sharing experiences with strip till, cover crops and how these practices work to help with the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. ISU Extension field agronomists are also on the programs, sharing their observations and recommendations with farmers attending the field days.

The Soil Health Day will be held in the Ag Partners meeting room, 30 E. Main, in Albert City. The event includes presentations and discussion with Clarion area strip-till farmer Tim Smith. He will share his experiences with strip till, cover crops and how they work to help with the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Also speaking is Sarah Carlson with Practical Farmers of Iowa who will discuss prevented planting and cover crops. Iowa State University Extension field agronomist Paul Kassel will offer a crop update and discuss soil fertility. A question and answer session with a local farmer panel will be held.  Anita Patrick, the MRBI coordinator in Buena Vista and Pocahontas counties, will wrap up the session and share updates in the watershed.

The field day includes a complimentary evening meal served by the Buena Vista Cattlemen. The event is free and the public is invited to attend. Also helping to sponsor the event are the Buena Vista and Pocahontas Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Iowa Learning Farms will host field day in Decatur County on August 1

Iowa Learning Farms will host a field day at the Arlyn Kauffman farm near Weldon in southern Iowa on Thursday, August 1, beginning at 5 p.m. The field day will focus on cover crop management and conservation farming practices for southwest Iowa soils.

A farm tour will be held and David Otte, cover crop expert from Kahoka, Mo., will be the guest speaker. He will talk about managing cover crops and hold a question and answer session as well. Also speaking is Sarah Carlson with Practical Farmers of Iowa, and local Natural Resources Conservation Service staff Lori Schwalbe, who will review cost-share opportunities for cover crop usage.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

The field day includes a complimentary evening meal immediately after the farm tour. Attendees are asked to meet at the field first, located at 25705 120th Street, Weldon. From Weldon, take R48 (250th Ave.) south out of town two miles to 120th Street. Turn left (east) and travel 3-4 miles to the field site. The meal will be at Kauffman structures, 25186 Popcorn Road (J22), located one mile south of the field site. The event is free and the public is invited to attend. Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa are sponsors for the field day.

Visit Abbe Hills Farm near Mt. Vernon August 4, at a conservation field day

Iowa Learning Farms, along with Practical Farmers of Iowa, will host a "Visit to the Farm" at Abbe Hills Farm near Mt. Vernon in eastern Iowa on Sunday, August 4, beginning at 4 p.m. The event will focus on urban conservation, sustainable vegetable production, and practicing conservation on farmland to improve water quality. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Laura Krouse has been operating Abbe Hills Farm, a 72-acre farm in Linn County, for 25 years growing vegetables for a Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, group that serves around 200 families. She has established many practices for conserving soil and improving water quality including cover crops, a restored wetland surrounded by native prairie, and using integrated pest management techniques. Krouse also raises poultry and grows seed for an open-pollinated variety of corn that has been produced on the farm since 1903.

Krouse will offer attendees a tour of her gardens, fields with cover crops, and the wetland and prairie area. Wayne Petersen, urban conservationist with Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, will be on hand to talk about things a suburban landowner can do to help improve water quality on their property and in their community. Iowa Learning Farms will have the Conservation Station to see, too. Its rainfall simulator shows the effects of rainfall on several different surfaces, including intense tillage, perennial vegetation and permeable pavers for streets and driveways.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

Abbe Hills Farm is at 825 Abbe Hills Road, Mt. Vernon. From Cedar Rapids: Take Mt. Vernon Road southeast to Abbe Hills Road. Turn left (east) and travel for about one mile. From Mt. Vernon: Take County Road X20 (8th Ave.) north out of town for one mile. Turn left (west) onto Abbe Hills Road. The farm is one mile from the intersection.

Farmer-to-farmer networking, farmer-led investigation and information sharing

Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers, advancing profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-to-farmer networking, farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call 515-232-5661 or visit the PFI website.

Iowa Learning Farms takes a grassroots approach offering innovative ways to help all Iowans have an active role in keeping our state's natural resources healthy and not take them for granted. A goal of Iowa Learning Farms is to build a Culture of Conservation, encouraging the adoption of residue management and conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best in-field management practices that increase water and soil quality while remaining profitable. For more information, go to the ILF website.

Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa, the Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa Water Center.

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