Cover crop and soil health field day planned near Eagle Grove

August 9, 2016

Ames, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms, in cooperation with farmer partner Tim Smith and the Soil Health Partnership, will host a cover crop field day Thursday, August 25th. The 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. field day near Eagle Grove is free and open to the public. It includes a complimentary lunch.

The field day will feature Tim Smith discussing the many Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and soil health practices he has implemented on his farm since 2011 when he first began working with the Mississippi River Basin Initiative.  Since then Smith has installed a bioreactor, practiced nutrient management, and started growing winter cereal rye cover crops.

In 2014, Smith joined the Soil Health Partnership and began a five year cover crop demonstration project.  Through the project, Smith has expanded his cover crop species to include oats, hairy vetch and radishes and will collect soil samples to measure changes in the soil.

“Iowa has some of the richest, most productive farmland in the world. By implementing new practices, we can prevent nutrient loss and erosion, and improve soil structure,” said Elyssa McFarland, Soil Health Partnership field manager for Iowa. “Farmer-to-farmer learning in actual farm environments really tells the story of the difference adopting these practices can make. Our research through this project will quantify that over time as well.”

The field day will also include a discussion on soil health, research results from two projects Smith participated in with the Iowa Learning Farms, Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group, an update on the Boone River and Eagle Creek Watershed projects, and the Conservation Station rainfall simulator demonstration.

The field day will be held at Tim Smith’s Farm, 2634 Hancock Ave, Eagle Grove, Iowa 50533.  From Eagle Grove, head east on NE 2nd St and continue on 265th Street for 3.6 miles. Turn left to go north on Hancock Ave for 0.2 miles. Destination will be on the east side of the road.

The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email ilf@iastate.eduor register online at

About Iowa Learning Farms

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.

About the Soil Health Partnership

The Partnership plans at least nine field days throughout the state through September. An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the SHP works closely with diverse organizations including commodity groups, federal agencies and well-known environmental groups toward common goals. The Partnership is in its third year with 65 partner farms across eight Midwestern states.

The Soil Health Partnership brings together diverse partner organizations including commodity groups, federal agencies, universities and environmental groups to work toward the common goal of improving soil health. Over a period of at least 10 years, the SHP will identify, test and measure farm management practices that improve soil health and benefit farmers. We believe the results of this farmer-led project will provide a platform for sharing peer-to-peer information, and lend resources to benefit agricultural sustainability and profitability. An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, we provide the spark for greater understanding and implementation of agricultural best practices to protect resources for future generations. For more, visit