Iowa Learning Farms to host Silver Lake Watershed field day

June 26, 2011

Ames, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms (ILF) is sponsoring a “field day” at the Lake Park, Iowa, community center on Wednesday, July 6, from 5:00-7:30 p.m. The field day will include a complimentary dinner and information about strategies to reduce soil erosion and limiting nutrient losses into water bodies. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
Partners of the Silver Lake Watershed Project are looking forward to an enjoyable event geared toward providing local producers with information about a variety of management practices that will help control soil erosion and improve water quality while enhancing their bottom line. Ryan Ransom, coordinator for the Silver Lake Watershed Project, will speak briefly about upcoming opportunities through the watershed project.  
Also on hand to share his experience in strip-tilling corn and no-tilling soybeans will be O’Brien County farmer Tom Wagner. Laura Christianson, Ph.D. candidate in the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering department at Iowa State University, will share her research and experience with bioreactors and other management techniques designed for limiting nitrate transport into local water bodies. Todd Sutphin, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), will give a short talk on the involvement of ISA in water quality projects across Iowa, including cornstalk nitrate testing conducted as part of the Silver Lake Project in 2010 and 2011.
Ransom said he is “confident that the event will spark the interest of many local producers. With current fuel prices, I think no-till and strip-till have become very viable options for many row crop operations. The information presented at this field day will provide a great supplement to that interest,” he said. Although the event is geared toward agricultural producers, Ransom noted that all interested parties are welcome to attend. “We are encouraging producers from across the area to attend, as well as other residents interested in water quality and sustainable agriculture.”
The Iowa Learning Farms’ Conservation Station will also be at the event. The Conservation Station is a mobile learning center that teaches audiences of all ages about different conservation aspects. The back of the Conservation Station houses a rainfall simulator, demonstrating the effects of rainfall on undisturbed soils with a variety of land covers, showing both surface water runoff as well as subsurface drainage. At the front is a learning center with interchangeable learning modules covering topics such as soil and water quality and wetlands.
The Lake Park Community Center is located on the east side of County Road M27 in Lake Park, just one mile north of the Highway 9/M27 intersection. The community center sits between the high school building (south) and baseball/softball diamonds (north).
Iowa Learning Farms are building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of residue management and conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF staff are working together to encourage farmers to implement the best in-field management practices that increase water and soil quality while remaining profitable. Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the US EPA (section 319); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa and the Iowa Farm Bureau.                --30--