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Iowa water quality efforts to be highlighted at Farm Progress Show

Posted Aug. 22, 2014

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said today that encouraging farmers to continue to use voluntary, science-based conservation practices will be a key focus at the 2014 Farm Progress Show next week in Boone.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will join a variety of public, private, educational and other partners to educate farmers about additional activities they can do on their farm to help better protect water quality.

“The Farm Progress Show is the largest outdoor farm equipment show in the U.S. and presents a great opportunity for us to reach out to farmers and educate them about the tools available to help better protect water quality,” Northey said. “We continue to be extremely pleased by the tremendous response from farmers, agribusinesses and ag organizations engaging in the Iowa Water Quality Initiative and it will be great to be able to reach so many farmers in a number of different venues at the Farm Progress Show.”

Conservation Central (booth 817) will have a cover crop demonstration plot with nine different strips showcasing different species and seed mixes that can be used in Iowa. Northey and other speakers will share their experiences using cover crops and be available to answer questions. The Boone County Soil and Water Conservation District Soil Health trailer will be on-site at Conservation Central and include soil health tests, tools, pictures and other visuals to educate farmers.

Conservation Central partners include the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Conservation Districts of Iowa, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and more than 10 other partners that will have a wide variety of information available on water quality and conservation tools that farmers can use.

Elsewhere on the show grounds, the Iowa Corn Growers Association (booth 26N) will host cover crop experts at 2 p.m. each day of the show to explain the benefits of cover crops and how high clearance seeding works.

Showcased at the Iowa Soybean Association booth (booth 754) during the three-day event will be a working model of a bioreactor showing how the carbon-based system processes nitrate in tile water and reduces the amount of nutrients leaving the farm.

The Iowa State University exhibit (booth 718) will give a bird’s eye view of select Iowa farms and an opportunity to visit with farmers who have practices in place to improve water quality. Visitors can explore water quality best management practices they might be considering. A simple decision tool will create a scenario similar to their own farm and practices can be selected to evaluate their ability to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus. Farmers who have implemented water quality improvement practices will host the area and share their experiences with visitors.

Northey is scheduled to be at ISU’s booth on Wednesday afternoon and talk with visitors about his role in creating the water quality initiative and about management practices he has in place on his farm. Last fall, Northey used cover crops on his farm for the first time, aerially applying 120 acres, half into corn and half into soybeans.

Visit www.CleanWaterIowa.org to learn more about voluntary, science-based practices that can be implemented on our farms and in our cities to improve water quality. Iowans can also follow @CleanWaterIowa on Twitter or “like” the page on Facebook to receive updates and other information about the ongoing Iowa water quality initiative.

The 61st Farm Progress Show, the largest outdoor farm equipment show in the United States, will be held August 26-28.

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