Farmers and ranchers, and many homeowners, are making progress in natural resource protection. There are nearly 2 billion acres of land in the U.S. About 70 percent of that land is privately owned by farmers, ranchers and homeowners. Farmers and ranchers use conservation plans to help them apply practices that meet their production objectives and protect soil, water, air, plant and animal resources. Many of these practices contribute to helping habitat by protecting water supplies and actually providing habitat for all types of wildlife. Here are stories from featured Iowa landowners.
Manley and Linda Bigalk of Cresco, Iowa
The Bigalk farm consists of 800 acres of corn, soybeans, oats, hay, pasture, and timber in northeast Howard County. They have installed contours, waterways, sediment basins, riparian corridors, filter strips, tree plantings, windbreaks and use a no-till tillage system. They were a key cooperator in the Bigalk Creek Water Quality Project and worked with the Department of Natural Resources in 1992 to install permanent fencing to limit cattle access to Bigalk Creek, a coldwater trout stream. Thanks in part to their efforts, the stream now supports naturally reproducing trout again.
Bob and Roger Cerven of Stanton, Iowa
Bob and his son farm in Montgomery County, in southwest Iowa. The family farm consists of 538 acres of row crops, 52 acres of pasture with a 40 to 50 head stock cow heard and a large hog operation. The Cervens have installed more than 52,000 feet of tile-outlet terraces, which act like rain gutters on a roof, to help redirect water flow to protect the soil. Cerven is also very active in watershed planning. He was involved in the organization and promotion of the Hacklebarney Watershed in southwest Iowa from the very beginning. His dedication to soil and water conservation as benefited people and wildlife alike.
Rick and Bob Henderson of Albia, Iowa
Brothers Rick and Bob Henderson own and operate 1,800 acres in Monroe County. Their operation includes row crop, hay and forage, a cow-calf operation and a finished cattle feedlot. Their conservation practice accomplishments include 30,000 feet of terraces and sediment basins, more than 800 acres in a planned grazing system, 500 acres of conservation tillage, an animal waste management system and 1,500 acres of hay and pasture. The Henderson's wise use of water resources, including proper nutrient management, helps contribute to better habitat for Iowa wildlife.
Russell and Cindy Melby of Castana, Iowa
Both avid outdoors people, the Melbys farm 1,400 acres in Monona County in western Iowa. Their operation includes row crops, cow/calf herd and custom feed feeder pigs. All the Melbyï¿½s row crops are no-tilled. Other conservation practices installed by the Melbyï¿½s include terraces, contouring, waterways, field borders and a rotational grazing system. As fans of the outdoors, the Melbyï¿½s have a great appreciation for the other living things on their farm and do their part to protect and provide habitat.
Josie Collins of Muscatine County, Iowa
Josie and her husband bought a badly eroded farm and helped improve habitat by planting trees and starting a tree farm. The farm was purchased as a retirement investment for the couple who lives in eastern Iowa. They also plan to build a pond to further improve habitat and increase their enjoyment.