Cover crops and conservation leases field day to be held near West Branch on August 22nd | Building a Culture of Conservation

Cover crops and conservation leases field day to be held near West Branch on August 22nd

July 31, 2019

AMES, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and National Wildlife Foundation, will host a cover crops and conservation leases field day on Thursday, August 22 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Ken Fawcett’s farm near West Branch. The event is free, open to the whole family and includes a complimentary meal.

Cover crops are gaining popularity among farmers and landowners thanks to the many benefits that can be achieved. These include reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies improving water quality, increased soil organic matter, improved soil health, reduced soil erosion and expanded grazing and forage acres.

Discussing a new conservation practice with your tenant or landlord can be challenging. This field day provides an opportunity for landowners and tenants to learn more about cover crops and adding conservation practices to the lease agreement.

The field agenda will include a demonstration of the Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Station rainfall simulator to show how different land management choices impact infiltration and water quality. Virgil Schmitt, Iowa State University Extension Field Agronomist, will discuss different planting techniques, tips on species selection and herbicide considerations for adding cover crops. Chris Henning, Greene County landowner and crop-share farmer, will share how she is partnering with her tenant to implement conservation practices on her land and provide some insight for women landowners to begin the conservation conversation. Charles Brown, Iowa State University Extension Farm Management Specialist, will conclude the program with his experiences with cover crops on his farm and tips for working alongside tenants for adding conservation to the lease. Joe Dixon, Cedar County NRCS District Conservationist will share information on cost share opportunities. Following the meal, Ken Fawcett will lead a tour of conservation practices on his farm and Matt McAndrew and Paul Brandt with MB Water will provide a water quality demonstration.

The workshop will be held at Ken Fawcett’s farm, 459 290th St, West Branch. From West branch, head east on Hwy F44/290th St. for 3 miles. The farm will be located on the north side of the road. The event is free and open to the whole family, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Please RSVP to Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or

Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. Contact Ken Fawcett at 319-430-2391 for reasonable accommodations.

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation by 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 include 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 GROWMARK, Inc.



Liz Juchems

Conservation Outreach Specialist