Learn about cover crops at Hewitt Creek Watershed field day June 26

June 17, 2013

Farmers are rediscovering the many ways cover crops benefit soil health, from improving soil structure to reducing soil erosion and nutrient runoff. These same advantages are also directly linked to better water quality – which is why some farmers in the Hewitt Creek watershed of northeastern Iowa have been participating in a project that’s tracking how planting cover crops affects the health of local streams in the watershed.
Jeff Pape, owner of Rubly Farms and chairman of the Hewitt Creek watershed council, is one farmer who has been testing cover crops on his land. He will host a field day in partnership with Iowa Learning Farms, Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Hewitt Creek Watershed Improvement Association on Wednesday, June 26, from 10 a.m. to noon, at his farm near Dyersville. The event – “Cover Crops in Hewitt Creek Watershed” – is free and will include a complimentary lunch. The field day is sponsored by KB Seed Solutions.
Topics covered will include cover crops and soil health, cover crop management and strategies to reduce nutrient loss. Attendees will have a chance to learn about the history of the Hewitt Creek Watershed Project and opportunities for participation. The event will also feature talks by Jerry Hatfield, plant physiologist with the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment; Mike Castellano, assistant agronomy professor at Iowa State University; and area farmers participating in the Hewitt Creek Watershed Project.
The field day site is located at Rubly Farm, one-half mile west of the intersection of Dyersville East Road and Pape Road, northeast of Dyersville.
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.
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.
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 www.practicalfarmers.org.
Practical Farmers of Iowa 2013 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Bio Till Cover Crops of Saddle Butte Ag; Calcium Products, Inc.; CROPP Cooperative of Organic Valley / Organic Prairie Family of Farms; Gateway Market; Featherman Equipment; Grain Millers, Inc.; Green Light Renewable Services; Harvest Innovations; Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying, Inc.; the Iowa Beef Center; Iowa Food Systems Council; Iowa Learning Farms; Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach; the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU; Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA); Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT); USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Platinum Supplemental Insurance; SunRackSolar; and the Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU.
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