Cover crop and soil health field day planned for September 13 near Orange City

August 23, 2017

Ames, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with West Branch of the Floyd River Watershed Project, will host a cover crop and soil health field day Wednesday, September 13th. The 5:30-7:30 p.m. field day will be held at Jonathon and Crystal Kiel’s farm, rural Orange City.  The field day is free and open to the public and includes a complimentary meal.

Jonathon and Crystal have been farming for 10 years just west of Orange City.  Together they raise corn and soybeans, pasture graze cows and calve each year.  For the last five years, the Kiels have used cover crops on all of their 320 crop acres. Using a wide variety of cover crops, their main goals are to improve soil health and encourage nutrient cycling. Their recent adoption of no-till was also motivated by improved soil health, but also the cost reductions compared to conventional tillage. Jonathon will discuss the transition to no-till and tips for adding cover crops to your land.

Also speaking at the field day is Mark Licht, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Cropping Specialist, who will lead a discussion on improving soil health with practices that reduce soil erosion. Liz Juchems, Iowa Learning Farms events coordinator, will share results from cover crop projects examining species selection, seeding techniques, water quality and soil health indicators like earthworms. West Branch of the Floyd River Watershed coordinator, Colton Meyer, will provide project updates and highlight opportunities to get involved.

The field day will be held at the Kiel Farm, 4449 Hickory Ave, Orange City. From Orange City, head west on IA-10/450th St for four miles. Turn right to head north on Hickory Avenue for 0.6 miles. The farm will be on the west side of the road.

The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. RSVP to Sioux County NRCS office at 712-737-2253 Ext. 3 or email

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, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319), and Conserva­tion Districts of Iowa.