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Out in the Field in the Miller Creek Watershed

Ever wondered what an NRCS Earth Team volunteer does? Check out Bri Farber's insights while working with Miller Creek Watershed Project.

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Farmers Explore Green Fields of Cover Crops and Cost Savings in Sac County

Additional field days, learning opportunities planned this fall

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Wait for Soil Temps to Remain Below 50 Degrees to Apply Anhydrous Ammonia

Waiting will prevent loss of fertilizer and help protect water quality

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It's Cover Crop Week!

We're celebrating all things cover crops this week. Want to join us? Follow the conversation at #FarmersCoverIowa and share your story.

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Applications Being Accepted for Urban Water Quality Demonstration Projects

Funding available to help install and showcase water quality practices in urban areas

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Farmers Connect Conservation to Water Quality at Big Spring

The Second Annual Landowner Appreciation Day allowed farmers and their families to follow the path of water that drains from their land to where it reemerges at Big Spring.

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Iowa Farm Bureau Members Dale and Karen Green Win Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year Award

Dale and Karen Green, owners of the Spring Valley Farms, have adopted more than 30 stewardship practices on their farm to promote conservation.

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Experienced Cover Crop Farmers Available for Q&A at Farm Progress Show

Practical Farmers of Iowa invites farmers with questions about cover crops to stop by the Practical Farmers booth during this year's Farm Progress Show, Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, in Boone.

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Cover Crops Change Midwest Landscape

Cover crops continue to grow in popularity while making a transformative change to Iowa's landscape.

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Conservation Groups Stoke Interest in Farm Nutrient Management

Robert Lynch uses strip-till and cover crops as well as no-till soybeans on his farm east of Gilmore City. He has shared his conservation knowledge through Iowa Learning Farms field days. Lynch serves on the Humboldt County Soil and Water Conservation District and is the president of Conservation Districts of Iowa.

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Reminder: Statewide Cost-Share Available for Water Quality Practices

Assistance available to farmers trying cover crops, no-till/strip till or nitrification inhibitor.

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Guest Article: Cover Crops a Teaching and Water Quality Tool at Des Moines Area Community College's Dallas County Farm

DMACC Farm Coordinator Travis Lautner shares the Agribusiness program's cover crop implementation at their Dallas County farm throughout the past year.

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Guest Article: The Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council (INREC)

First-of-its-Kind Organization Provides Statewide Leadership on Environmental Education, Research, and Progress Measurement Efforts in Iowa

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Intern Experience: Why Water Quality?

Cody Smith, our communications intern, highlights the importance of water quality discussions in Iowa.

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Iowa Farm Bureau Releases Seven New Conservation Videos

Iowa Farm Bureau Unveils New Video Series, Highlighting Conservation Practices That Work

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SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION WEEK - APRIL 24 - MAY 1, 2016

The week we join our nation in focusing on the stewardship of our natural resources. Here's a look at what's going on throughout the week

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Public-Private Partnership Strengthens Nutrient Reduction Strategy Measurement Progress

Iowa State University is beginning a state-funded project in partnership with the Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council (INREC) to explore how to measure Iowa farmers' progress in reducing nutrients moving from fields into rivers and streams.

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13 Urban Water Quality Demonstration Projects Selected to Receive Funding

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced 13 urban conservation water quality initiative demonstration projects have been selected to receive $978,149 in funding.

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Iowa State University Research Shows Extra Cover Crop Growth Prior to Soybeans Provides Benefits

Research at Iowa State University, funded by the United Soybean Board (USB), suggests that an additional period of cover crop growth prior to soybeans results in high cover crop biomass production, nitrogen retention and has no negative effect on yield.

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USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Awards $9.5 Million for Midwest Agriculture Water Quality Partnership

Project will leverage $4.75 million in state funding and $33 million from the private sector to expand water quality efforts.

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Attend an upcoming cover crop workshop near you!

Iowa Learning Farms, Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group, will host six cover crop workshops this spring in Cerro Gordo, O'Brien, Black Hawk, Johnson, Mahaska, and Pottawattamie counties. The workshops are free, open to the public, and include a complimentary meal.

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Northey Releases Iowa Water Quality Initiative 2016 Legislative Report

The eight-page report provides an update on the $3.5 million made available for statewide cost share for water quality practices and on the 29 demonstration projects that were operating across the state last year to help implement and demonstrate water quality practices.

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"Boots on the Ground = Conservation on the Ground" Is the focus for Iowa Conservation Partnership Day at the Capitol on January 19th

Branstad, Reynolds and Northey to visit with Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners from across the state.

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Three Projects Focused on Expanding Use and Innovative Delivery of Water Quality Practices Receive Funding

These three new projects join 29 demonstration projects already in place across the state

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Getting the Ball Rolling in the Elk Run Watershed

Collaboration and partnerships are the keys to success in any agriculture initiative, but particularly when it comes water quality. The Elk Run Water Quality Initiative (WQI) is just one example of how the partnership approach can spur positive action.

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Boots on the Ground: Shane Wulf - Miller Creek Water Quality Improvement Project

The program allows producers to see the effectiveness of nitrate and phosphorus removal from conservation practices directly out of their own tile-outlets, bioreactors and saturated buffers.

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$325 Million Invested In Iowa Through State and Federal Programs with Water Quality Benefits Last Year

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today highlighted more than $325 million in state and federal funds directed to programs with water quality benefits in Iowa last year.

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Pre-applications being accepted for urban water quality demonstration projects

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is requesting pre-applications for project focused on improving water quality in urban areas

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Funds Available for Additional Projects Focused on Expanding Use of Innovative Water Quality Practices

Projects to focus on installing practices, methods of delivery and demonstrating results

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Northey: 1,800 Farmers Commit $3.5 Million to Water Quality Practices

Cover crops, no-till/strip till or nitrification inhibitor

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Branstad, Reynolds, Northey & Gipp Recognize 95 Iowa Farm Families with Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award

95 Iowa farm families received an Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award during a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

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Guest Article: Nitrogen: A Complex Reality | Nutrient Stewardship

Discussing the benefits and challenges of nitrogen use is tricky at best. Preventing nutrients from leaving the crop's root zone with 4R practices (using the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, the right time and in the right place) is the first line of defense for preventing losses to the broader environment.

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Big Spring Hosts Educational Field Day - Elkader, IA

On August 12th Big Spring staff hosted a field day in conjunction with the Iowa DNR, Clayton County Conservation Awareness Network, Clayton County Pheasants Forever, and the Clayton Soil & Water Conservation District.

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Kickoff for Water Quality Initiative Project Focused on Increasing Cover Crops to be Held in Ankeny July 28

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey will participate in the event at 11:30 a.m.

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Reminder: Farmers Encouraged to Apply Now for Cost-Share for Cover Crops, No-Till/Strip-Till and Nitrification Inhibitor

Cost share assistance available through Iowa Water Quality Initiative, priority given to first-time users, but funds will also be made available to farmers that have used cover crops in the past.

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Four Projects Focused on Expanding Use and Innovative Delivery of Water Quality Practices Selected to Receive Water Quality Initiative Funding

Projects will emphasize installing practices and demonstrating results to farmers

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Doug Adams' 5 feet tall cover crops

Due to weather conditions this year, Doug Adams, farmer in Humboldt County, experienced some unusual results with his cover crops.

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Governor Signs into Law $9.6 Million to Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship for Water Quality Initiative, "Water Quality" officially added to title of Department's Division of Soil Conservation

Governor Branstad and the Iowa Legislature committed to partnering with farmers to make significant long-term progress in protecting Iowa's soil and water resources; the Governor signed into law $9.6 million to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in the new fiscal year.

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Guest article: Iowa Cattlemen's Association | Justine Stevenson shares Thom Miller's conservation story

Justine Stevenson, Director of Government Relations for the Iowa Cattlemen's Association shares Thom Miller's story, an Iowa cattleman and conservationist.

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Iowa Legislature Approves $9.6 Million to Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship for Water Quality Initiative

Approved funding from Iowa Legislature, which starts July 1, now goes to Governor Branstad and must be signed before going into effect.

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Guest article: Agricultural Drainage Wells | IDALS-Division of Soil Conservation

Mike Bourland, Engineer for the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's Division of Soil Conservation, explains Agricultural Drainage Wells (ADWs) and Iowa's need to close them.

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Northey: Statewide Cost-share Available for Water Quality Practices

Cover crops, no-till/strip-till or nitrification inhibitor eligible for assistance

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Northey: Resources Available to Farmers Using No-till and Strip-till to Reduce Erosion and Improve Water Quality

List of recommendations and resources valuable for experienced no-/strip-tillers and those new to the practice.

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Northey Shares Tips for Managing Cover Crops this Spring

Information to help the hundreds of Iowa farmers new to cover crops have a successful experience

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Nine urban water quality demonstration projects selected to receive funds

Projects located in Ames, Calmar, Cedar Falls, Des Moines, Granger, Lake City, Storm Lake, Webster City and West Des Moines

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Three Watershed Demonstration Projects Selected to Receive Water Quality Initiative Funding

The three new watershed demonstration projects will focus on adoption of practices outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, receiving $1.4 million in funding over the next three years.

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Iowa Water Quality Initiative Funds Available for Expanding Use of Innovative Water Quality Practices

Funds available for projects focused on implementing and demonstrating innovative delivery of practices to protect water quality.

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Nominations sought for Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards

Iowans can nominate farmers for the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award, those who have taken voluntary actions to improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state

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Northey Receives Environmental Award from National Association of Clean Water Agencies

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture honored for work on Iowa Water Quality Initiative.

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Water Quality Initiative Leader Awards Presented at Agribusiness Showcase

Hagie Manufacturing, Stutsmans and Certified Crop Advisors Joe Shirbourn and John Holmes recognized

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CSP Application Deadline February 27, 2015

The deadline is rapidly approaching to apply for enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), a competitive USDA-NRCS program that supports farmers in maintaining, improving, and adding additional conservation to their farm operations. Practical Farmers has supported this program since its inception.

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Guest Article: Iowa's Champion Cover Crop Commissioners Tell Their Stories

'People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it's the other way around." - Terry Pratchett, author

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Cedar Rapids-led Project Receives USDA Funding to Improve Watershed

Cedar Rapids City leaders held a news conference today to announce the launching of a $4.3 million project focused on improving water quality, water quantity and soil health in the Cedar River Watershed.

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USDA Selects Two Water Quality Focused Projects for New, Innovative Conservation Program

The Iowa Targeted Demonstration Watersheds Partnership Project will receive $3.5 million through RCPP. With the funding, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and its 20 project partners, will be able to increase available resources through existing demonstration projects in key watersheds, conduct farmer-to-farmer outreach and assist farmers in implementing conservation practices.

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Northey to hold public meetings in Calhoun, Sac and Buena Vista Counties on Jan. 20 and 21

Northey will meet with the counties subject of potential Des Moines Water Works lawsuit.

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Northey Praises Governor for Strong Support of Water Quality in Budget Proposal

$7.5 million for Water Quality Initiative would help continue momentum of conservation program

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Cover Crop Research and Demonstrations in Iowa (list and contact info)

List and short description of groups doing research and demonstration of cover crops in Iowa.

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FY2014 Water Quality Initiative Legislative Report

Download the pdf file of the latest Water Quality Initiative Legislative Report

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Integrated Agronomics - Compaction

Sometimes compaction was caused by machinery and never taken out and sometimes it was caused by the tillage itself. Either way compaction causes problems for roots by eliminating the macro pores.

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Research reveals beneficial impact of cover crops on water quality in the Mississippi River Basin

New study suggests that up to 19 mil. acres of corn and soybean ground in the upper Mississippi River Basin has the potential to incorporate cover crops, decreasing nitrogen entering the Gulf of Mexico by up to 400 mil. lbs.

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Guest article: Food is food. Make the most of it.

Agronomy Business Director of GROWMARK, Inc., Nate Pierce writes about 4R nutrient stewardship providing framework to achieve all cropping system goals.

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Northey Requests $7.5 Million for Water Quality

Iowa Ag Secretary highlights conservation efforts in meeting with Gov. Branstad

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Guest article: Turkeys and Water Quality in Iowa

One of my favorite quotes is "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be" - it describes my situation perfectly. Little did I know that being a farmer was being someone - someone who helps feed the world.

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Guest article: Source Water Protection, Elliott Wetland Project

The Source Water Protection Program, managed by Iowa DNR, provides assistance to communities working to protect Iowa's drinking water.

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Pre-applications being accepted for urban water quality demonstration projects

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is requesting pre-applications for projects focused on improving water quality in urban areas.

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Pre-applications being accepted for additional water quality demonstration projects

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is requesting pre-applications for targeted watershed demonstration projects focused on water quality.

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Targeted Wetlands Improve Water Quality

Wetlands in general can provide a number of positive water quality and wildlife functions. What makes CREP wetlands different is that they are sited at the outlet of drainage infrastructure and designed to maximize the removal of nitrate before the water continues downstream.

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Yields, Environment Benefit from Spring Split N Applications

A 39-year farming veteran is splitting from his past farming practices to use less fertilizer and improve crop health and yield performance.

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Guest article: Marrying Stewardship and Profitability, Hagie Mfg.

The agricultural landscape is ever evolving. Hagie Mfg., a 67 year old manufacturer of innovative agricultural application solutions, is a partner for land stewardship with it's ever changing, new technology.

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Water Quality Initiative Leader Award presented to Lake Darling Watershed Project in Washington County

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey presented the award to landowners and project partners recognized for conservation efforts at the Lake Darling State Park rededication ceremony on September 17.

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Ten New Projects Receive Funding through ISU's Iowa Nutrient Research Center

The 10 new projects were approved for 2014-2015, and build on 10 projects already underway that were funded for 2013-2014.

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Hagie Mfg. honors 88 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award Recipients

Iowa farm families named Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award recipients were honored at a special Recognition Luncheon hosted by Hagie Manufacturing at the Iowa State Fair on Wednesday, August 13.

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Cover crop plantings gain momentum due to environmental concerns

Iowa may be defined by corn and soybeans, but agricultural leaders across the state say cover crops likely will play a major role in how that definition evolves.

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Meet Sean McMahon | Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance Executive Director

Sean McMahon, with a great environmental and conservation history, will begin as the IAWA executive director on September 15, 2014.

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River to River: Water quality work found on many fronts

The strategy related to farmland is built on a scientific assessment of practices and associated costs to reduce loading of nitrogen and phosphorus to Iowa surface waters. See the many that are invested in water quality work in Iowa.

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Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) Frequently Asked Questions

Created and funded by Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Pork Producers Association, see what the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance is all about.

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Iowa Ag Water Alliance to accelerate pace, scale of water quality improvement

Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp participated in the announcement of the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance held at the Iowa State Capitol.

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Water quality efforts to be highlighted at Farm Progress Show

Encouraging farmers to continue to use voluntary, science-based conservation practices will be a key focus at the 2014 Farm Progress Show, held August 26-28 in Boone, Iowa.

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Branstad, Northey and Gipp recognize 88 Iowa farm families with Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award

Awards were presented at the 2014 Iowa State Fair to families that have lead the way on environmental stewardship

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Saving the Soil

Cover crops are rising in prevalence in Iowa, as they have been proven to stop soil erosion, mitigate farm runoff and maintain soil nutrients in the winter season.

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Northey: Farmers commit $1.4 million to try new water quality practices

597 farmers to use cover crops, no-till/strip till or nitrification inhibitor for first time as they commit to try new water quality practices.

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Most drainage wells closed through cost-sharing

New lines will re-route water from an ag drainage well in Humboldt County (photo). Cost-share programs have closed 90 percent of the pollution-prone wells in Iowa.

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Northey: $1.4 Million Available for Water Quality Practices

$1.4 million in cost share funds are available to help farmers install new nutrient reduction practices: cover crops, no-till/strip till or nitrification inhibitor.

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Iowa View: Water improvements are occurring in Iowa

"All this is changing, however, as farmers and town residents work together through the Black Hawk Lake Watershed Project." Article in Des Moines Register by Darcy Maulsby, farmer in Calhoun County, where her family raises corn and soybeans.

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Iowa on the right path for improving water quality

We still have more to do, but we are on the right path. Iowa is leading the way in using voluntary, science-based practices for nonpoint sources and innovative proactive approaches from point sources to improve water quality.

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Cover crop field day scheduled in Black Hawk County for June 30

All farmers in the Miller Creek Watershed are invited to learn how cover crops can improve water quality and prevent soil loss at a field day June 30 at Hawkeye Community College near Waterloo.

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NICC Hosts Successful Kick-off Event for Winneshiek SWCD's Turkey River Project

The Central Turkey River Nutrient Reduction Demonstration Project, a 3-year project led by the Winneshiek County Soil & Water Conservation District, held their inaugural kick-off event on June 18.

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Cover Crops Providing Supplemental Livestock Feed

Many Iowa livestock producers are finding cover crops to be an excellent source of spring feeding. In western Iowa, many Crawford County farmers turned cattle, including many cow-calf pairs, loose on an estimated 2,500 acres of cereal rye this spring.

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5 Watershed Demonstration Projects Selected to Receive Water Quality Initiative Funding

The newest five demonstration projects will focus on adoption of practices outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy; there are now currently thirteen demonstration projects in the state.

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On-Farm Research Line-up for 2014

Practical Farmers' on-farm research will feature 56 projects on 92 farms this year.

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Van Zante Creek Watershed Project Underway

Van Zante Creek Watershed Quality Improvement project, one of the eight demonstration projects that were chosen last fall as part of its Iowa Water Quality Initiative, held a kickoff meeting on February 13 in Sully, Iowa.

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Guest article: Cover crops and coffee | Iowa Soybean Association

As part of Iowa Soil and Water Conservation Week, the West Tarkio Creek Watershed Project and the Iowa Water Quality Initiative hosted "A Morning of Cover Crops, Coffee" on May 2 at the O'Hara farm in Page County. High-ranking state officials, farmers and others attended the field day to learn more about cover crops.

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Coralville Mayor Receives Leadership Award for Water Quality Efforts

Today, Tuesday, May 13th Coralville's Mayor, John Lundell, will be presented with a Leadership Award from the Iowa Stormwater Education Partnership Program for water quality efforts within the City of Coralville.

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Farmers stepping efforts to build conservation knowledge

"It all goes back to trying different things. We need to step outside the box and try new things for conservation," Den Herder said. "My goal is to leave thing better than when I started and this conservation work is a big part of that."

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Cover Crops Management and Termination

Knowing the best management practices for a successful termination depends on what type of cover crop seed you planted last fall. Hear recommendations from Mike Plumer, a consultant from central Illinois.

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Results released of five-year cover crop on-farm yield study

Cereal rye cover crops added to a corn-soybean rotation seems to have little effect on yield, according to a five-year study conducted by Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa. Ten Iowa farmers have devoted part of their acres to conduct the study.

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New Guidelines for Cover Crop Termination Affects Crop Insurance

Timing for termination of a cover crop can affect whether the crop insurance coverage attaches for the corn and soybean crop yet to be planted.

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2014 Soil and Water Conservation Week is April 27 to May 4

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad will sign a proclamation recognizing April 27 - May 4 as Iowa Soil and Water Conservation Week and activities and events are held across the state throughout the week.

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Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm Column: Efforts Continue To Boost Water Quality

Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm explains the latest on Iowa's water quality. The Legislature voted last year to improve Iowa's water, environment and recreational opportunities by investing in programs and partnerships with farmers, landowners and communities.

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Northey: Funds Available for Conservation Research and Demonstration Projects

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced the State Soil Conservation Committee Research and Demonstration Fund has assistance available to support projects focused on improving environmental quality