Iowa Learning Farms to host spring cover crop workshops, field day

March 4, 2014

Iowa Learning Farms, as part of the Iowa Cover Crops Working Group, will host four cover crop workshops across Iowa in March and April.
Cover crops are growing in popularity in Iowa. When cover crops are added to a corn-soybean rotation, they can help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, increase soil organic matter, and reduce soil erosion. As part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, when cover crops are used in combination with other conservation management practices, point and nonpoint source pollution is reduced in Iowa waters and downstream. Other conservation management practices include strip-tillage or no-tillage, grassed waterways, extended crop rotations, installing buffers, wetlands and bioreactors and more.
The cover crop workshops are scheduled for late March and early April:

March 25: VFW Post 7920, 3693 US Highway 218, Osage
   RSVP by March 11 to Mitchell County Extension, 641-732-5574

March 26: Chariton Community Center, 915 Osage Street, Chariton
  RSVP by March 12 to Lucas County Extension, 641-774-2016

April 8: Neil Vonnahme farm, 13628 220th Street, Arcadia
RSVP by March 25 to Carroll County NRCS office 712-792-1212, ext. 3

April 9: Oakland Community Building, 129 Harrison Street, Oakland
RSVP by March 25 to East Pottawattamie Extension 712-482-6449

All workshops will be from 10:00 to 12:30 p.m. They are free and include a complimentary lunch. An RSVP is requested.
Topics at the workshops range from using cover crop mixtures, selecting the right cover crop for your farm, using cover crops to enhance soil and water quality, cover crop effects on soil health and more. Speakers include local farmers who are using cover crops on their fields, and experts from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Practical Farmers of Iowa.
Field day on April 3
In addition to the workshops, a field day is scheduled for Thursday, April 3 at the Joe Kriegel farm near Malcom, Iowa. The field day runs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event is free and includes a complimentary lunch; RVSP by March 24 to the Poweshiek County NRCS office: 641-528-4115, ext. 3. Attendees will meet at the Malcom Auditorium, 212 Main Street, Malcom; then car pool to the Kriegel farm to view three cover crop sites. The group will return to the auditorium for lunch and follow-up questions.
The Iowa Cover Crop Working Group’s goal is to increase the amount of living cover on Iowa agricultural lands. The group provides a unified voice from academy, non-profit and industry sectors on the importance of cover crops and the encouragement of their use in cropping systems across the state.
For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website:
Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms are 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), Conserva­tion Districts of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Water Center and Practical Farmers of Iowa.