News Releases - Environment, Weather & Nature
Written by Laurie Johns   
Monday, 22 April 2013 15:14

Virtual Tours Show Progress of Iowa Farmers

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – April 19, 2013 – Iowans can see how today’s farmers are always seeking new ways to protect the land and water, while providing a wide array of food choices for consumers, by taking virtual farm tours.  Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is launching ‘Conservation Counts’ (, an online resource where consumers can see how farmers use conservation practices on their farm and the progress that statewide voluntary measures have brought in the last 30 years.  The Conservation Counts website goes live April 22nd, the 43rd observance of national Earth Day.

“Conservation methods are different on every farm because the terrain is different, the soils are different and the crops we grow are diverse.  So when it comes to conservation, forcing a one-size-fits-all approach would be a detriment to the progress we need to make in protecting the land and water,” said IFBF President Craig Hill.

“Today’s responsible farmers are always looking for new ways to help them not only maintain but improve the integrity of their land and watersheds.  Some farmers plant trees ( ) through the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmer’s Green Farmstead Partner Program; many more farmers plant grassy buffer strips to protect streams; some use no-till methods or cover crops, or terraces to hold nutrients and reduce erosion.  On my farm, I use precision agriculture where I spoon feed plants nutrients/fertilizer at the right time, right place and right amount so they get only what they need which is better for the plant and the environment. And, there are also innovations in seeds and equipment which help today’s farmers use less fertilizer,” said Hill.  “Progress and new ideas are what it takes to meet our nation’s food needs, while protecting the land.  One in six jobs in this state are tied to agriculture.  By 2050, it’s estimated the global population will be over 9 billion, which requires 100 percent more food than we’re growing today.  The Nutrient Reduction Strategy (http://www.nut\ ) shows farmers all the options they can use on their farms to get us there.”

Voluntary conservation measures have brought progress.  In the last 30 years, soil erosion in the U.S. has been reduced by 43 percent, according to the USDA’s National Resources Inventory report.  Iowa’s erosion rate was down 33 percent, thanks to a combination of practices being put in place, such as buffer strips, terraces, no-till, cover crops, restoring wetlands, installing bio-filters and grassy waterways in fields.  Today’s responsible farmers continue to search for new ways to protect the land and watershed; seven major conservation practices used on Iowa farms are estimated to remove as much as 28 percent of the nitrate, 38 percent of the total nitrogen, and up to 58 percent of the phosphorus that otherwise would be present, according to the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development’s Conservation Practices in Iowa: Historical Investments, Water Quality and Gaps.

“Farming is never a one-year proposition. It’s something we do over time and we are continually learning.  It’s never static; you always want to be getting as much information as you can, and then putting it to work on your farm,” said Ankeny farmer, Mark Kenney, who uses no-till, has restored grasslands on his farm and this year is taking more land out of production to plant new grassy buffer strips to reduce erosion on his Nevada-area farmland.

Learn more about how today’s responsible farmers embrace new conservation methods by checking out ‘Conservation Counts’ at or follow them on Facebook at IowaFarmBureau or Twitter at (#ConservationCounts13).


About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to helping farm families prosper and improve their quality of life.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve economic growth, educational improvement, and environmental quality in their communities.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at

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