At the end of the farm crisis in 1988, Laura Krouse made the careful yet conscious decision to buy some land. After 25 years, she continues to farm and is paving the way as a leader in conservation for male and female landowners alike.
Krouse manages 72 acres of land where she grows vegetables, oats, hay, and cover crops. She also raises on open pollinated field corn that has been selected on her farm since 1903. She sells this as seed.
Abbe Hills Farm CSA currently serves approximately 200 families in the Mt. Vernon/Lisbon area. Her commitment to clean water, soil health, and biological diversity is evident in her farming practices. To improve the sustainability of her farm, Krouse demonstrates crop rotation, cover crops, compost, contour strips, prairie restoration, pollinator habitat, restored upland wetland and integrated pest management. “If we don’t take care to use limited natural resources carefully and responsibly, they will go away,” says Krouse.
As an undergraduate at Iowa State University, Krouse became interested in soil conservation and ecology. She graduated from ISU with degrees in agronomy and ag business, and went on to receive a master’s in agronomy from the University of Florida.
In addition to her involvement with Iowa Learning Farms, Krouse has been a commissioner of the Linn Soil and Water Conservation District for almost 25 years. She has served on the Iowa Valley RC&D, Southeast Linn Community Center, Practical Farmers of Iowa, and Women, Food and Agriculture Network. In 2007 she was awarded the Spencer Award for Sustainable Agriculture by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
Building a Culture of Conservation: “It is a responsibility that comes along with the use/ownership of land. We can’t neglect it any longer.”