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Iowa Conservation Showcase 2007

Conservation Showcase

Profiling Iowa's Conservation Successes in 2007

Lee Aldrich

Farming Trees for the Future

Tree farmers Lee and Lynne Aldrich, in their mid-60s, plan to leave their grandchildren a legacy built on love of family, helping the environment and what they've learned from a lifetime of farming. That legacy has a cornerstone built on a Christmas tree farm and six acres of walnut trees that will grow to be worth $1.4 million, in today's dollars, in 50 to 60 years.

PDF, 755 KB | Web Version

Randy Burt

Racer Named Conservation Winner

Randall "Randy" Burt, 52, of Rowan, is known locally for racing school buses and semi- tractor trucks at northern Iowa race tracks. But this part-time racer and full-time farmer is also recognized as a conservation leader in Wright County. Along with his uncle, John Burt, he was recently honored for their conservation stewardship by the Conservation Districts of Iowa; the best in thirteen Iowa counties.

PDF, 925 KB | Web Version

Iowa Pheasants Forever Members

Will Buffer Benefits Disappear?

Dave York is worried. He's afraid high land and corn prices and the expiration of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts will prompt farmers to take out many of the 1,300 miles of grass and tree buffers he's helped install along the streams and rivers in Carroll County. Those grass and riparian buffers provide pheasant habitat, keep soil in place and filter out pollutants from rainwater runoff entering Carroll County waterways.

PDF, 780 KB | Web Version

Jacob Johnson

Johnson Installs Hoop Structure with EQIP Assistance

After getting the scoop on hoop buildings at a southwest Iowa research farm, livestock producer Jacob Johnson installed one at his own operation, with assistance through the USDA's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The 50-foot by 240-foot hoop structure houses 300 head of feeder cattle and helps reduce manure and sediment runoff at his Corwith farm.

PDF, 1.5 MB | Web Version

Mike Webster

Bremer County Project Saves Money, Improves Environment

It sounds very strange, but it is true. Taxpayers will save around $500,000 on a road reconstruction project in Bremer County and, at no additional cost, get a wetland that will reduce flooding on the Wapsipinicon River, clean the water and protect threatened and endangered species.

PDF, 1.2 MB | Web Version

Producer Dean Stromer

Hancock County Farmer: Additional N Doesn't Pay

Common sense conservation is paying dividends for farmer Dean Stromer of Klemme, Iowa. Results of required soils tests through his Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contract and a little experimentation have Stromer convinced that additional nitrogen doesn't necessarily pay off. He's saved money on fertilizer this year by applying less nitrogen than in past years.

PDF, 1.1 MB | Web Version

Dry Run Creek

Grant Helps Stream Rehab on UNI Campus

Sport fishing could soon be added as a campus activity thanks to a University of Northern Iowa project to improve water quality on its 900-acre Cedar Falls campus. This work entails a series of storm water management projects–including rehabilitation of a unique on-campus stream–Dry Run Creek, which flows through the northern part of campus.

PDF, 1.2 MB | Web Version

Louisa County Farmer Roger Edwards and NRCS District Conservationist Drew DeLang review Edwards´┐Ż prescribed grazing conservation plan.

Controlling Erosion Expands Grass Production for Cattle

Roger Edwards loves raising cattle, but he didn't like what was happening on his land. The year was 2004. Gullies were eating up the highly erodible land he was using for pasture. Edwards wanted the erosion stopped. He also wanted more water for his 130 head cow/calf herd and he wanted to make his operation more efficient.

PDF, 1 MB | Web Version

Bob Boeck

Conservation Partners Help Boeck Fix 'Ugly Mess'

Nearly two decades after purchasing what he calls "an ugly mess," Bob Boeck of rural Black Hawk County is finally getting his money's worth. With assistance from three conservation partners-the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Pheasants Forever-Boeck has 80 acres of priceless wildlife habitat.

PDF, 1 MB | Web Version

John Shephard

Patience, Persistence Pay Off for Shephard

John Shephard admits he didn't know weeds from forbs in 1984, the year he purchased his very own piece of land, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Now, 23 years later, with guidance, a vision and a plan, this Black Hawk County landowner has his own 60-acre wildlife haven.

PDF, 1 MB | Web Version

Drew DeLang and Ivan Keller take a look at wild rice.

Old Wild Rice Now a New Crop

For the first time in his 49-year farming career Ivan Keller is growing wild rice on his land in Louisa County. Primarily a corn and soybean farmer, Keller is now growing wild rice through a cooperative research program, because he feels it will benefit wildlife and he is just curious about the plant.

PDF, 1 MB | Web Version

Jay Jung

EQIP Switchgrass Incentive Entices Southeast Iowa Producers

The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service offered landowners in southeast Iowa incentive payments and cost-share in the 2007 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) signup to seed down switchgrass for use as a biomass energy crop and for other alternative energy uses. A total of 43 contracts totaling $690,513 that cover 1,920 acres were signed through this EQIP incentive.

PDF, 1 MB | Web Version

Leroy Haeffner

Washington County Wet & Wild Because of Haeffner

Leroy Haeffner retired June 29, 2007, after serving the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for 27 years, the last 16 as a soil conservationist in Washington County. If you don't think one person can dramatically alter a landscape, drive around this area of southeast Iowa. Instead of field after field of row crops, you will see an inordinate amount of wildlife habitat, including wetlands, buffers, native prairie plants and grasses, and trees. Much of that can be attributed to Haeffner, who promoted the restoration of wetlands and native prairie throughout his NRCS career; all to improve the soil and attract wildlife to the region.

PDF, 1.3 MB | Web Version

Tom Pattee

Retired Teacher Converts to Full-Time Cattleman

In the spring of 2006, after teaching mathematics for more than 30 years in Lamoni, Ankeny, Underwood and Harlan, Tom Pattee decided to put down the chalk for good and become a full-time cattleman.

PDF, 1.36 MB | Web Version

Soil Conservationist Ryan Gerlich, left, worked with cattleman Mike Sweeney on his multi-paddock rotational grazing system.

'Good Fences Make Good Neighbors'

When Robert Frost wrote "Good fences make good neighbors" in his1914 poem "Mending Wall", he was referring to neighbors respecting each other's property. The line from that nearly century-old poem certainly rings true for Polk County cattlemen Mike Sweeney and John Olmstead. But these Mitchellville neighbors are not only respecting each other's property, they are sharing each other's property.

PDF, 1.1 MB | Web Version

The wetland at Iowa School for the Deaf attracts many bird species.

Iowa School for the Deaf Ready for Rain

Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs is taking a proactive approach to managing storm water on their campus, and teachers are educating their students about the water quality benefits of the infiltration-based management practices the school is adopting.

PDF, 323 KB | Web Version

Gary Olsen

CRP Helps Landowners Plant Trees in Iowa

Five success stories about Iowans who are planting trees through the general Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) signup. The program cost-shares tree planting and grass establishment on highly erodible land and pays landowners an annual rental payment for up to 15 years.

Web Version

Darrell Stamp

Producers Find No-Till Corn-on-Corn Success

With corn prices doubling over the past two years, many producers are expected to expand their corn acreage and plant corn-on-corn this spring. Iowa NRCS is encouraging producers to resist the urge to till. Thad Bridges and Darrell Stamp are two Iowa crop producers who are resisting that urge.

PDF, 196 KB | Web Version

Steve Longlee

Special Project Clears Invasive Eastern Red Cedars

Western Iowa features one of Iowa's most unique landscapes - the rolling Loess Hills prairie. The rare native species found in these hilltop prairies, however, are endangered by the encroachment of eastern red cedar trees that spread rapidly, cover and shade out native plants and grasses. The loss of these native plants and expansive growths of the cedars has left the loose, crumbly loess soil susceptible to erosion.

PDF, 339 KB | Web Version

Structure S5 is the largest dam in the Blockton Watershed Project

Blockton Watershed Project Still Holding Strong

Twenty-seven grade stabilization structures, also referred to as dams or farm ponds, were constructed as long as 40 years ago as part of a watershed project to protect the southern Iowa town of Blockton, and its farming community, from flooding and soil erosion.

PDF, 351 KB | Web Version

More Iowa NRCS Conservation Success Stories