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Iowa Conservation Showcase 2008

Conservation Showcase

Profiling Iowa's Conservation Successes in 2008

Mark Guge

NW Iowa Cattle Producer Following Award-Winning Footsteps

Just like his father did more than 40 years ago, Estherville farmer Mark Guge is winning awards for his conservation efforts. Guge (pronounced GOO-Gee) is the 2008 National Cattlemen's Association Environmental Stewardship Award winner for Region III. Guge and his father have been using conservation practices on their Estherville area farm for over 50 years and winning conservation awards since 1966.

PDF, 1.2 MB | Web Version

Solar-Powered Livestock Watering System

Solar-Powered Pump Combats Livestock Watering Issues

Solar panels that provide energy to pump water for his livestock watering system are allowing cattleman Dick Lester, owner of Spring Valley Ranch in Cherokee County, and operators Britt and Mark Carlson to better utilize their pasture, save money, reduce streambank erosion, and improve cattle performance on the remote 650- acre pasture.

PDF, 1.3 MB | Web Version

Jim Sievers

Absentee Landowner Leads by Example

A retired farmer from Cambridge makes conservation a priority on each of his farms even though he does not farm the ground himself. "Jim Sievers installed conservation practices on the land he owns in five different Iowa counties. He's saving soil, protecting water resources, improving soil quality and providing habitat for wildlife. I see him setting a good example for others and having fun while he does it," says District Conservationist Jered Finley.

PDF, 953 KB | Web Version

Francis Thicke

Cows Major Source of Farm Power

Dairy farmer Francis Thicke says cows power his dairy farm.

Some may think he is joking, but Thicke is serious. He says letting his cows walk to grass is much more efficient and economical than mechanically harvesting forage and transporting it to the cows. Thicke says he designed his Jefferson County dairy operation to be as energy efficient and environmentally friendly as possible and set up his farm so that available cow power is captured.

PDF, 1.2 MB | Web Version

Leonard Grimes

Conservation Vision Now Shared with Thousands

In 1992, Mildred and Leonard Grimes had a dream. Their vision was to donate 22 acres of land for the construction of a wetland and conservation center to benefit the people of Marshall County.

PDF, 933 KB | Web Version

Bill Winke

Monroe County Sportsman Targets Habitat Diversity

Outdoorsman Bill Winke believes a natural environment with diverse habitat is the key to attracting deer. That idea influenced his decision to direct-seed 120 bushels of acorns (red and white oaks) and walnuts by hand spreading them on 22 acres of his Monroe County farm in October 2007.

PDF, 1.2 MB | Web Version

Steve Hanson

Hanson Improves Monroe County Wildlife Habitat

Steve Hanson's forestry and wildlife expertise is helping to turn rough, hilly, often marginal, southern Iowa cropland and unmanaged timber into a wildlife haven, as land manager for more than two dozen farms. He also manages 600 of his own acres.

PDF, 1.8 MB | Web Version

Jack Kintzle

No-Till, Grassed Waterways Protect Linn County Farm

A combination of no-till and small grassed waterways delivered a one-two punch to potential storm damages and erosion for Linn County farmer Jack Kintzle after continuous heavy rains hit his farm April through June. His conservation work helped minimize potential crop replanting as well as severe soil erosion on his 1,400 acres of cropland.

PDF, 1.55 MB | Web Version

Benny Davis

Conservation Efforts Lead to More Than a Dream Lake

As a young boy, 71-year-old Benny Davis said he wanted his own lake. As a young man, Davis built his lake. Today, conservation experts say this boyish dream is benefiting many more people than the man who fulfilled his dream.

PDF, 1.36 MB | Web Version

Suzanne Gibboney

New Farmer Finds Success with Conservation

Suzanne Gibboney claims she doesn't know much about farming, but she does know where to go for help. She says Steve Allen, at her local U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office, is her best source for farming advice.

PDF, 1 MB | Web Version

Doug Seltz

Farmers Expect 'Unbelievable' Profits from Conservation Tillage System

Farmer Doug Seltz says he expects "unbelievable" 40 percent returns from his latest investment--a strip-till system. Iowa State University data suggest the return on his conservation tillage system will be higher.

PDF, 1.7 MB | Web Version

Pat O'Regan

CNMP Win-Win For New Cattleman

A comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP) is turning into a win-win situation for Winneshiek County cattleman Pat O'Regan - by helping him trim input costs and reduce manure and sediment runoff.

PDF, 1.3 MB | Web Version

Paul Ackley

Taylor County Farmer Finds Cover Crops an Essential Conservation Tool

Bedford farmer Paul Ackley says cover crops he planted last fall protected his soil from the ravages of this spring's flooding. Read more...

PDF, 911 KB | Web Version

Rotational Grazing Pays for Bedford Man

Rotational grazing is paying off for a Taylor County farmer. Paul Ackley, of Bedford, says he can raise the same number of cattle on one-third less land thanks to rotational grazing. He installed fences, cattle watering tanks and lines, and methodically moves his 100-head of cattle among 15 paddocks so they always have fresh grass.

PDF, 1.1 MB | Web Version

Alice and Orville Sangl

Conservation Cooperation Protects Important Iowa Resource

A few years ago conservationists from Dickinson County sent money to help their peers in Jackson County, Minnesota. They are now returning the favor by "sending back" cleaner water to the Iowa Great Lakes Watershed. One of the first Minnesota farmers to install conservation practices to improve water quality in the Iowa Great Lakes was Orville Sangl Sr.

PDF, 945 KB | Web Version

Mark Ingwersen

Farmer Helps Protect Top Iowa Tourist Attraction

This year one million people will likely enjoy cleaner water at the Iowa Great Lakes thanks, in part, to Mark Ingwersen. He is a Spirit Lake farmer and chairman of the Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Ingwersen worked the past 20 years to improve water quality in the area which is a top Iowa tourist attraction.

PDF, 922 KB | Web Version

Mike DeCook

Rotational Grazing Helps Organic Rancher Accomplish Goals

A passion for natural, wide-open spaces is driving southern Iowa organic grass farmers Mike and Dan DeCook to "re-wild" their land in the most holistic way possible. For their cattle business, this means adopting an organic grazing system that includes just grass, trees, mineral and water-no chemicals of any kind.

PDF, 1.5 MB | Web Version

Loren Peters

Sediment Basin to Benefit Elk River, Livestock Production

Thanks to a newly constructed sediment basin built to reduce manure and sediment runoff and increase farm productivity, longtime livestock producer Loren Peters of Clinton County says he now feels good about the environmental condition of the operation he is leaving to his family.

PDF, 1.2 MB | Web Version

Martha Olson

Winnebago County Century Farm Now Youth Conservation Area

If her father Herbert Holland were still alive, Martha Olson is certain he would approve of the name change on their family's Winnebago County farm. Instead of "Holland Century Farm", it is now known as "Holland Prairie Conservation and Youth Hunting Area." The new name signals the start of another conservation chapter on this farmland.

PDF, 838 KB | Web Version

John Laflen

Living Snow Fence Grows Up

Iowa spring storms can be fickle. But even if a late spring snowstorm hits northern Iowa this year, John Laflen will be happy. It isn't that he likes bad weather, it's just that blowing snow gives him the opportunity to test his maturing living snow fence. Protecting nearly a quarter mile of Highway 9 and a half-mile of 50th Avenue in Washington County, the trees, shrubs and native grasses planted in 2005 tame snow drifts and keep the roads open during winter storms.

PDF, 870 KB | Web Version

Dickinson County NACD Award

Dickinson County Wins National Conservation Competition

Out of 3,000 counties in the country, the Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District in northwest Iowa was recently recognized as the best district in the nation in the Urban, Community and Coastal Resources category by the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD).

PDF, 959 KB | Web Version

Florence Rempe

Terraces Popular in Protecting Muchakinock Creek

Mahaska County farmers are responding to a push to clean up Muchakinock Creek, which was added to Iowa's impaired waters list in 2002 after falling below state standards for maintaining aquatic life. Cleaning up Muchakinock Creek with soil saving and water quality improving best management practices is part of the Mahaska County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Muchakinock Creek Watershed Project.

PDF, 1.3 MB | Web Version

Little Brown Church in the Vail

No-Till Farmer Benefits Water Quality at Little Brown Church

There is a tradition at the Little Brown Church in the Vail near Nashua that newly married couples, at the close of the service, walk down the aisle and pull the rope to ring the church bell. Carried out by many of the 72,000 couples married at the church, the practice is designed to remind couples that they need to "pull together", because life always has its ups and downs. Robert Wolff of Nashua can hear the bell ringing from his nearby farm. His land is on a hill that overlooks the historic 150-year-old church immortalized by the hymn "The Church in the Wildwood."

PDF, 970 KB | Web Version

Bob and Judy Kremer

Small Waterway Offers Big Challenges

Farmers, like Bob and Judy Kremer of Jackson County in eastern Iowa, are supporting the Farmers Creek Watershed Project by installing conservation practices to prevent soil erosion and improve water quality.

PDF, 1.3 MB | Web Version

Larry Cuddeback

New Farm Prompts Expert Conservationist to Seek Help from the Experts

Larry Cuddeback is a long-time farmer and an award-winning conservationist who just bought a second farm. Trained in forestry and a former park ranger for the Army Corps of Engineers, The Washington County farmer knows a lot about conservation practices and land management. And he knows where to get help with solving natural resource concerns.

PDF, 1.1 MB | Web Version

Ed Cambridge

Loess Hills Residential Development Retains Rain

A one-of-a-kind residential housing subdivision called Woodfield is developing in southwest Iowa, near Glenwood, along the Loess Hills Scenic Byway, which minimizes soil disturbing activities during construction and permanently manages storm water to protect water quality with low impact development (LID) practices that infiltrate water on-site.

PDF, 1.4 MB | Web Version

Don Soutter

Impaired Waterway List Provokes Farmer to Act

Polk County farmer Don Soutter installed several conservation practices through several state and federal cost-share and financial assistance programs to keep Camp Creek, an impaired waterway that runs through his farm, as clean as possible.

PDF, 744 KB | Web Version

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