Larry and Danny Pidgeon | Salem Area
The Pidgeon Farm is traditional in what you would think of with a diverse farming operation in southeast Iowa. They raise corn, soybeans and hay as cash crops, incorporate cattle with a calving operation and also raise some hogs. They farm in multiple areas across the Lower Skunk River Watershed and their impact on conservation cannot be missed.
Q. What water quality practices have you used on your farm?
A. The Pidgeons are innovators when it comes to incorporation of a diversity of conservation practices. They have incorporated numerous cover crop species both by aerial and drilling methods including turnips, cereal rye, radishes, oats and wheat. They also have included buffer strips and filter strips along their fields and waterways, turn rows, and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) areas. They have implemented shallow water areas, ponds, and wetlands on their farm ground. The Pidgeons are also very efficient with manure application that they gather from their mono cattle slope buildings, which cuts back on fertilizer need and improves efficiency and water quality. Numerous terraces cover their farm ground and they also incorporate no-till practices.
Q. Why did you voluntarily adopt these practices?
A. "I am concerned about erosion and want to do my part to save the soil for future generations. I also want to see the nitrate contaminant load reduced from Iowa to the Gulf of Mexico."
Q. What, if any, assistance did you receive to incorporate these practices (financial as well as technical)?
A. "I went to the local NRCS field office for knowledge, expertise and education on practices and to receive financial assistance for cost share. In some cases I received up to 90% cost share"
Q. What is your philosophy as it relates to farming and the environment?
A. "Our goal is to grow the most amount of food with the least environmental impact, while still maintaining profitability. We feel that it is important to save the soil whenever possible and believe that these new conservation practices are the key to a sustainable future."