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Iowa Conservation Showcase 2010

Profiling Iowa's Conservation Successes in 2010

Sandy and Ed Fravel

Sioux City Couple Protecting 'Fragile Giants'

For Sioux City’s Sandy Fravel, life really does imitate art. A mid-1990s exhibit at the Sioux City Art Center taught Fravel, the Center’s former education curator, how fragile western Iowa’s Loess Hills really are.

Fravels (PDF, 2.5 MB) | (html)

Todd Duncan (left) with NRCS and Jim Edrington with Seed Savers Exchange have worked together since 2006 to implement the non-profit organization’s conservation plan and goals.

Saving More Than Seeds

Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) in Decorah is best known for collecting and sharing heirloom seeds for future generations. But the non-profit group is also focused on the needs of future generations in its work to restore and enhance their 890-acre northeast Iowa farm. This work includes reintroducing Iowa’s only native trout – the brook trout – to its local coldwater stream, and providing sustainable habitat to an extremely rare breed of cattle.

Seed Savers Exhange (PDF, 3 MB) | (html)

Ron Muth

Organic Initiative Helps Muth Experiment with Cover Crops

Funding through the USDA’s Organic Initiative is helping Sioux County organic farmer Ron Muth experiment with cover crops which help suppress weeds and supply nutrients to his row crops and his vegetables.

Muth (PDF, 2 MB) | Muth (html)

Liz Konstantinov

Small SW Iowa Organic Farm a Dream Come True for Omaha Family

An Omaha family’s dream getaway is now a viable southwest Iowa organic farming operation after a few years of hard work, the help of a local expert, and the USDA’s Organic Initiative to make financial and technical assistance available to producers of all commodities.

Konstantinov (PDF, 1 MB) | Konstantinov (html)

Gary Otto

Cherokee Farmer Transitions to Organic Production After 35 Years

A strong history of land stewardship and a suite of new conservation practices are helping longtime conventional farmer Gary Otto of rural Cherokee transition about 160 row crop acres to certified organic agriculture.

Otto (PDF, 2 MB) | Otto (html)

Glen Elsbernd

Young Vegetable Grower Flourishing in Organic Hotbed

Twenty-three year-old Glen Elsbernd is utilizing the USDA’s Organic Initiative and higher payment rates on conservation practices as a Beginning Farmer to help transition his 88-acre Winneshiek County farm to organic vegetables much sooner than he expected, and in doing so is protecting valuable natural resources on the farm.

Elsbernd (PDF, 2 MB) | Elsbernd (html)

father-son operation has been a great partnership for nearly 20 years.

Cover Crops Suppress Weeds for Organic Dairy Operation

An aerial-applied wheat and red clover cover crop is helping to suppress weeds, reduce soil erosion, and provide other environmental benefits on 200 acres of certified organic cropland that helps feed a 150-head certified organic dairy operation in Van Buren County near Milton.

Cover Crops Suppress Weeds for Organic Dairy Operation (PDF, 2 MB) | Wells (html)

The Chariton River as receded from the easement on Mike and Nick Hunter's property. Water flow can be seen in the grass and the water depth is illustrated by debris in the fence.

Southwest Iowa Easements Reduce Flooding This Spring

After heavy spring rains in southwest Iowa several ARRA-funded floodplain easements are already reducing flood damages, providing wildlife habitat and protecting water quality. In a two-day period this April, Lucas County received up to six inches of rain. This caused many local rivers and streams to overflow their banks, flooding agricultural land, county roads and other low-lying areas.

Southwest Iowa Easements Reduce Flooding This Spring (PDF, 1.1 MB) | Reduced Flooding (html)

Angus cow

Whiterock Conservancy Implements New Grazing System

A non-profit land trust in Coon Rapids is utilizing federal assistance and a state low-interest loan program to help implement a rotational grazing system to improve soil and grass conditions, and increase biological diversity on 700 acres of rough terrain pasture along the Middle Raccoon River.

Whiterock Conservancy Implements New Grazing System (PDF, 1.4 MB) | Whiterock (html)

Cover Crops Work with Various Crop Production Systems

According to a panel of Iowa farmers, agronomists and soil conservationists, cover crops such as rye, wheat and clover are environmentally beneficial and with proper management won’t inhibit yields on various crop production systems, including no-till and organic farming. At a recent Cover Crops Workshop in Jefferson, dozens gathered to discuss and learn more about the many benefits and varieties of cover crops, and ways to successfully plant and manage them.

Cover Crops Work with Various Crop Production Systems (PDF, 1.2 MB) | Cover Crops (html)

More Iowa NRCS Conservation Success Stories