December 16 Webinar: Perennial Groundcovers for Achieving Soil & Water Conservation with Large-Scale, High-Yield, Row Crop Production

December 9, 2020

AMES, Iowa—The topic of the Iowa Learning Farms webinar on Wednesday, December 16 at noon is integrating perennial groundcover into row crop systems.

Perennial groundcover (PGC) systems couple a high-yielding annual row crop with a perennial grass groundcover, such as bluegrass or fescue. In this low tillage system, the groundcover reduces soil erosion, builds soil carbon and soil health, increases water infiltration, and reduces nutrient export—making the overall system more resilient in a cost-effective manner.

Cynthia Bartel, research scientist at the Iowa State University Biomass Cropping Systems Lab, will focus on the impact and applicability of PGC systems, on the status of research on PGC systems, and on the socioeconomic impact and policy strategies to move this system forward during the webinar.

“Growing food and feed crops with perennial groundcovers can regenerate ecosystem services, conserve natural resources, and improve crop productivity, which have been exceedingly challenging to collectively achieve in conventional agriculture,” said Bartel. “The perennial groundcover approach recognizes existing market forces, infrastructure investments, and the federal farm bill support structure, accounting for the groundswell of support for this system’s development. This system has real potential—but it’s not ready for widespread application yet. Every partner in this work is critical for improving reliability and resiliency, and farmers and farmer-feedback are at the core of that work.”

Bartel specializes in the intersection of science and policy—she began working on perennial row-crop systems while earning her PhD in Crop Production & Physiology, previously serving as an agriculture, nutrition, and trade senior policy advisor for seven years for a farm-state United States Senator in Washington, DC.

Webinar Access Instructions

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before 12 pm CST on December 16:

Click this URL, or type this web address into your internet browser:

    Or, go to and enter meeting ID: 364 284 172 


Or, join from a dial-in phone line:

    Dial: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923

    Meeting ID: 364 284 172


The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time. Archived webinars are available at

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit (CEU) has been approved for those who are able to participate in the live webinar. Information about how to apply to receive the credit will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

About Iowa Learning Farms

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, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319) and GROWMARK, Inc.


Hilary Pierce                                       Jacqueline Comito

Extension Outreach Specialist            ILF Program Director                  

515-294-8912                                       515-296-0081