Barbara Johnson and her husband, Stanley, farm in Page County in southwest Iowa. They have several farms that are divided into CRP, crop acres and pasture. Some of their land is rented to area farmers.
Barbara and Stanley have put several different conservation practices on their farm: planted numerous trees and shrubs, buffers, terraces, and minimum tillage. They are working in improving the ponds on their land. The Johnsons are doing what they can on their land to improve the health of the watershed. They are experimenting with new terracing that will spread the water out and allow it to filter and drain slower. They promote investing in wildlife habitat development and maintenance through land set aside specifically for native grasses, forbs, trees, shrubs, and food plots.
“Erosion control is priority. Keeping the soil where it is makes it easier to farm and more productive. Ponds are critical to our livestock water supply. Wildlife is important in the ecology of our world. We need to maintain a healthy landscape for wildlife.”
In addition to farming, Barbara is involved as a Page Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner, serves on the state boards for soil and water and is on the National Association of Conservation Districts Water Resource Committee. They are members of Page County Pheasants Forever and both are very active in church, serving as lay ministers for Southwest Iowa Ministries. Stanley and Barbara have three daughters and two grandsons.
Building a Culture of Conservation: “We’ve used minimum tillage, trying to use no-till as much as possible and the reason we’re doing that is economics. Fewer passes through the field equates to less fuel usage and less compaction, but also better management of natural resources.”
“This land has been in our family for two generations, and we hope to have two or three more generations follow us and be here. If I don’t take care of the soil and its fertility, it’s not going to be economically feasible for the families that follow to produce a living off the land.”
“If you drink water and eat food, you need agriculture, and in turn, you need to understand and promote good conservation.”
Barbara and Stanley were interviewed for this great video about their farm and conservation practices. Watch the video here.