Thomas Irmeier | St. Manning

Story Submitted by David Brand, Project Coordinator for the Bluegrass and Crabapple Watershed Project

Q: Tell us about the Operation:
A: Tom, his wife Kimberly, and four children farm row crops and pasture in Audubon, Crawford, and Wayne counties. Tom has been farming 30 years, starting right out of high school. In addition to corn and soybeans, the Irmeier's also maintain a cow/calf operation on his pasture ground.

Q: What water quality practices have been utilized on the farm?
A: Tom uses no-till, contour farming, and crop rotation on his land. The last few years he has been experimenting with cereal rye cover crops, which has been aerially applied. Nitrogen inhibitors are added to his fall applied anhydrous ammonia prior to planting corn. Tom is also participating in the Conservation ReserveProgram (CRP) with waterways. Tom also has a demonstration site for the Bluegrass & Crabapple - East Nishabotna Water Quality Initiative Project.

Q: Thomas, what drove you to voluntarily adopt these practices?
A: "We strive to be good stewards of the land and want to leave it in better shape than when we started. It's about the land and future generations more than just dollars." He is also participating in the Water Quality Initiative Project to learn more about soil health.

Q: What, if any, assistance was received to incorporate these practices? (Financial as well as technical).
A: "We have received technical and financial assistance from the local NRCS for CRP waterways. The Bluegrass & Crabapple Water Quality Project and the Audubon Soil and Water Conservation District have been a source for information on water quality practices. Additionally, the Iowa Soybean Association has helped with Haney Soil Testing and managing the tile water monitoring." Tom has agreed to work with the water quality project as a demonstration site to analyze cover crops vs. no cover crops, efficiency of nitrogen inhibitors, the Haney Soil testing method, and tile water monitoring.

Q: What is your philosophy as it relates to farming and the environment?
A: "My philosophy related to farming and the environment is you own it, you don't mine it. If you take care of the land, it will take care of you. We have to take care of the land for future generations."