March 16, 2017

Spotlight Story

  • Kellie Blair: Keep your eye on the goal

    By Kellie Blair On our farm, we do a lot of work advocating for conservation. When I say we advocate, I mean that we tell our story and how it works for us. What works on our farm doesn’t always work for others. Conservation on the farm doesn’t look the same everywhere, and includes cover crops, no-till/strip-till,[...]Read More »
  • Kerri Bell: Farming is Family

    By Kerri Bell My name is Kerri Bell, and I am a fourth-generation farmer. My husband, Lance, and I have a diversified crop farm near Keota in southeast Iowa. We raise corn, soybeans, cover crops, and alfalfa, and have a crossbred cow calf operation with our twin daughters, Ellie and Sophie – both are 2023[...]Read More »
  • Sara Preston: What do Mothers and Farmers Have in Common?

    By Sara Preston Ever pondered the similarities between mothers and farmers? As I reflect on the remarkable women in my life and the dedicated farmers I know, I can’t help but notice the striking parallels. Mothers are nurturing to their children, going above and beyond to encourage their growth and helping them be the best that[...]Read More »
  • From prairie meadows to renewable fuel: how one man’s vision could reshape the Midwest

    By Dan Looker Rudi Roeslein was born in Salzburg, Austria, not far from mountain meadows where the movie, The Sound of Music, was filmed. His family emigrated to St Louis when he was a boy and today Roeslein has a vision of spreading different flowering fields–30 million acres of native tallgrass prairies–in his adopted country,[...]Read More »
  • From deadly dams to revitalized recreation: Iowa initiatives transform waterways

    By Dan Looker ICON Water Trails continues building momentum for 150 miles of waterway recreation while the Wetland Wave supports water quality to improve the recreation experience. DES MOINES, Iowa (IAWA) – Not far from Hannah Inman’s office south of downtown Des Moines, the Des Moines River below the Scott Street Dam is a jumble[...]Read More »
  • 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.[...]Read More »
  • ‘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[...]Read More »
  • 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[...]Read More »
  • 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[...]Read More »
  • 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[...]Read More »
  • 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[...]Read More »
  • Reap the rewards of better drainage practices with free land upgrades on your farm

    Iowa farmers face ag drainage problems. There are solutions. When farm field runoff flows through traditional tile drainage structures, water doesn’t have a chance to slow down and infiltrate the soil. This is not good for drought resiliency – which is becoming even more important as we face more dry summers. It also leads to[...]Read More »
  • City of Cedar Rapids’ Mary Beth Stevenson earns IAWA Public Impact award, honored at Iowa Watershed Awards

    CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (IAWA) – City of Cedar Rapids Watersheds & Source Water Program Manager Mary Beth Stevenson has been named the winner of the 2023 Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) Public Impact Award for her impressive partnership efforts, urban-rural focus, and her role in increasing the pace and scale of water quality practices in[...]Read More »
  • DNR’s Josh Balk named IAWA Watershed Coordinator of the Year, honored at Iowa Watershed Awards

    WATERLOO, Iowa (IAWA) – Josh Balk’s dedication to improving water quality in the Cedar River watershed is being recognized with the 2023 IAWA Watershed Coordinator of the Year award, an honor given to one outstanding Iowa watershed coordinator each year. In his role as an Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) watershed and source water[...]Read More »
  • Agri Drain, ESE founder Charlie Schafer earns IAWA Private Impact award, honored at Iowa Watershed Awards

    ADAIR, Iowa (IAWA) – Agri Drain Corporation and Ecosystems Services Exchange (ESE) founder and leader Charlie Schafer has been named the winner of the 2023 Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) Private Impact Award, which will be presented at the Iowa Water Conference next week in Altoona. Schafer’s leadership at Agri Drain, ESE, and numerous ag[...]Read More »
  • Weather conditions and fertilizer prices result in challenges but also opportunities

    Nitrogen stabilizers and nitrogen research to be the focus of a Central Iowa Field Day By IAWA and Verdesian, an IAWA Business Council member   With nitrogen prices increasing over the past few years, growers have their minds squarely on fertilizer costs. Throw into the mix weather volatility (what else is new?), and farmers are[...]Read More »
  • From ditches to riches, restored prairie builds healthy Iowa soil

    By Adam Sodders ST. ANTHONY, Iowa (IAWA) – In Marshall County, a 105-acre patch of restored prairie gives a glimpse into Iowa’s past and serves as an example of the impact that long-term conservation work can have. That same patch is where Carl Kurtz has called home all of his 77 years, more than half[...]Read More »
  • Relationships, trust key to a sustainable future in Iowa agriculture

    Ag retailers join forces with farmers, local officials to scale up conservation practices in the Cedar River Source Water Partnership By Adam Sodders, IAWA NEWHALL, Iowa (IAWA) – In the rolling hills of eastern Iowa’s Cedar River watershed, an exciting new kind of soil and water conservation partnership is finding success. As interest in improving[...]Read More »
  • What will you be able to say in 2033?

    IAWA Executive Director Sean McMahon reflects on a decade of progress and a decade of opportunity as we enter the next 10 years of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. This web post is a shortened version of Sean’s ‘Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy – the Defining Decade’ speech to the Iowa Smart Agriculture Forum. You can watch[...]Read More »
  • Walking in water

    Watershed coordinators’ hands-on work improves NE Iowa streams By Dan Looker The Turkey River winds and ripples past limestone bluffs in Northeast Iowa and is a favorite of paddlers and anglers. But where the river starts, at a gently sloping corn field in Howard County, it looks more like an easily jumped ditch. Hunter Slifka,[...]Read More »
  • Iowa farmers can get up to $38/acre through WQI funds

    DES MOINES, Iowa (IDALS/IAWA) – Farmers and landowners can now get up to $38 per acre for water quality practices like cover crops and no-till. It’s through Iowa’s Water Quality Initiative (WQI). WQI funds help farmers adopt proven water quality practices, including planting cover crops, transitioning acres to no-till/strip-till or applying a nitrogen inhibitor. “Building on the record[...]Read More »
  • Changing water, soil health mindsets where the prairie meets the hills

    NE Iowa farmer optimistic about future of water quality, soil health after first decade of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy By Adam Sodders ARLINGTON, Iowa (IAWA) – Tim Recker’s family has a long history of crop farming in northeast Iowa’s Fayette County, and he’s adding to that legacy as a leader in on-farm soil and[...]Read More »
  • From wet spot to wetland

    Partnerships lead to new water quality feature at DMACC Dallas County Farm By Adam Sodders ADEL, Iowa (IAWA) – A once-troublesome mud puddle in a Central Iowa farm field has been transformed into one of the state’s newest water quality wetlands. The new wetland was completed in January at the DMACC Dallas County Farm near Adel.[...]Read More »
  • IAWA and partners to celebrate $140,000 grant with wetlands tour

    ADEL, Iowa (IAWA) – You’re invited! Join us during Earth Week on April 19, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. to learn about the power of wetlands near Iowa farmland to improve water quality! RSVP here. This is part of a celebration hosted by the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, DMACC, Ducks Unlimited, Dallas County, and Polk County[...]Read More »
  • Iowa farmers use “water quality toolbox”

    Proven practices find success on Iowa farms, benefit downstream neighbors   By Dan Looker, IAWA Writer Iowa (IAWA) – Seven years ago Jon Bakehouse of Hastings, Iowa, started planting cover crops where he grows corn and soybeans with his father. Switching to no-till farming in the 1990s improved water filtration in wet spots on their West[...]Read More »