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Black and white calf in a pasture with wild flowers in Iowa.

Iowa Pastures

Pasture lands are diverse types of land where the primary vegetation produced is herbaceous plants and shrubs.

Benefits of Incorporating Conservation on Your Land

As a landowner or farm operator, you face many decisions when managing the natural resources on your land. When it comes to improving your pastureland, good management and the right conservation practices makes it possible to have lush, green pastures, clean water, and healthy animals.

Pasture management is managing the forages grazed and/or browsed by livestock by maintaining cover, providing adequate rest after grazing, and using stop-grazing heights to maintain live green leaves during the growing season. Good management also includes following the recommended stock density rate and rotating based on forage availability and livestock nutrition needs.  Well-managed pastures not only provide food for your animals, they absorb rainfall, filter runoff, and reduce erosion.

Following a grazing management plan can improve nutrient cycling and increase soil organic matter, which can make your pasture more drought resistant. Other benefits often include a longer grazing season, greater forage production, and a more nutritious food source that improves animal health, milk production and weight gain.

Cows crossing a stream in Iowa

There's a Program for That

Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service provides financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns on private lands. EQIP supports the needs of all agricultural operations, offering ideas, science-based solutions, and guidance for successful and sustainable conservation farms.

Below are some of the more popular conservation practices that Iowa farmers install to treat resource concerns related to grazing land operations as outlined in their conservation plans.

Popular Iowa Grazing Practices

Brush Management
Prescribed Grazing
Watering Facility

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit