Here to help – farmers support farmers in adding regenerative practices

Iowa farmer, Dean Sponheim, nears 100,000 acres of cover crops with his entrepreneurial endeavors, after seeing successful cover crops on his own farm in 2012. By Dan Looker OSAGE, Iowa (IAWA) It’s a warm, sunny February day in Osage, Iowa, where about 100 farmers are gathered inside a meeting hall at the Mitchell County Fairgrounds.[…]

‘A milestone year’ for Iowa water quality

Record cost share for farmers, increased practices stand out in 2023 ANKENY, Iowa (IAWA) – Iowa saw record investment in water quality and soil health practices in 2023, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s (IDALS) annual Soil Conservation and Water Quality statewide report. The work of IDALS, in collaboration with many public[…]

Iowa regenerative farmer Kelly Garrett kneels in a crop field, looking at a handful of soil.

Iowa regenerative farmer Kelly Garrett named Top Producer Award finalist

DENISON, Iowa (IAWA) – Sixth-generation Iowa farmer and regenerative ag advocate Kelly Garrett is one of just three finalists for the prestigious Farm Journal 2023 Top Producer of the Year award. Qualifying for this Top Producer magazine honor is a big deal for any farmer – the publication’s subscribers must meet operational requirements (2,000+ corn or soybean[…]

Prairie Strips – A beautiful tool for soil preservation

By Dan Looker ANKENY, Iowa (IAWA) Diamonds are valued and appreciated for their beauty because they’re rare. So it is with a nearly vanished American landscape – the tallgrass prairie. Only 4% of its original 170 million acres remains in the U.S.  In Iowa, it covers less than 0.1% of the land. Yet, anyone who[…]

West O Beer, Doll Distributing support Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance with “Blue Taps=Clean Water”

DES MOINES, Iowa (IAWA) – Central Iowa beer lovers can now support clean water efforts simply by ordering a pint thanks to the expanded “Blue Taps=Clean Water” program from West O Beer, in partnership with Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA).  West O is donating a portion of the proceeds from all beers poured through blue[…]

USDA ramps up support for prairie strips

By Dan Looker ANKENY, Iowa (IAWA) – The USDA offers a cornucopia of conservation programs through its Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) – but using them for planting prairie strips has been complicated and sometimes difficult for farmers. The FSA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) started in the 1980s to take whole[…]

The STRIPS Project – A brief history

By Dan Looker ANKENY, Iowa (IAWA) – In 2007, a group of Iowa State University researchers started testing the concept of mixing the advantages of tallgrass prairie with row crops, an effort they dubbed “Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips,” or STRIPS. One advantage prairie plants have is their roots, which reach up to[…]

Prairie fuel – A new market for prairie hay

By Dan Looker ANKENY, Iowa (IAWA) – Iowa farmers who plant prairie strips may soon have a new source of revenue for harvesting them. This spring, St. Louis-based Roeslein Alternative Energy finalized an $80-million USDA contract under the department’s Climate Smart Commodities program, which will allow the company to compensate farmers who harvest prairie hay. That[…]

When it comes to better soil health, context is key

New Soil Health Interpretation Portal gives customized, “apples-to-apples” insights ANKENY, Iowa (IAWA) – It’s no secret that Iowa is blessed with great cropland, and the Iowa Soybean Association’s new, free-to-use Soil Health Interpretation Portal (SHIP) is helping farmers get the most out of their top-notch topsoil. The SHIP shows farmers how their soil is performing in the[…]