Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds during their weekly press conference highlighted Iowa Soil and Water Conservation Week, which runs from April 29 to May 6. They were joined by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey as they discussed the important conservation work being done in the state. The Iowa leaders encouraged all residents of Iowa to continue to work to protect the state's soil and water resources.
"Iowans have a culture of conservation due to our close connection to the land and a long history of recognizing the importance of being environmental stewards," Branstad says. "Agriculture has been a key driver of the state's economy and farmers understand better than anyone that we need to protect our natural resources for future generations."
Branstad earlier in April signed a proclamation recognizing Soil and Water Conservation Week in Iowa. His proclamation highlighted "the abundance of our state's agricultural production and the high quality of life we enjoy are dependent upon the proper use and management of our soil and water resources."
Looking at some of the new and exciting conservation projects in Iowa
"This week—April 30 to May 6--we will be participating in a number of events to highlight the good work going in our rural and urban communities to protect our air, soil and water," said Reynolds. "We want to highlight a few of the new and exciting conservation projects that are taking place across the state."
On Tuesday, May 1, Branstad and Reynolds participated in a Rathbun Lake Watershed Field Day on a farm near Chariton and then on Friday, May 4 they attend a Scott County Urban Conservation Showcase in the Quad Cities area.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's Division of Soil Conservation, along with the Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, will co-host an urban conservation tour in downtown Des Moines on Thursday, May 3 at 1 p.m. The tour will start at the Iowa Utilities Board, 1375 E Court Ave., at 1 p.m. and then visit two other sites in downtown Des Moines to showcase bioretention cells, native landscaping, permeable paving, rain gardens and a green roof.
Rural and urban citizens both need to work together to help prevent soil loss
"We need rural and urban to work together to help manage the rain that falls in our cities and on our farms," Northey says. "We are in the process of developing a statewide nutrient reduction strategy to identify the conservation practices that are most effective and give farmers and landowners even better tools to ensure Iowa's continued place in successful crop farming, while improving the sustainability of Iowa's fertile soils and the quality of Iowa's waters."
The Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's Division of Soil Conservation partners with the 100 Soil and Water Conservations Districts in Iowa, with an office located in each county, to fulfill Iowa's conservation mission. The Department's conservation partners include USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and Iowa State University, among many others.