JOHNSTON, Iowa  (April 24, 2017)  - The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and the Iowa Land Improvement Contractors Association (LICA) hosted the fifth annual water quality and agriculture field day for legislators on Friday at the LICA farm located northeast of Des Moines near Melbourne. The tour included in-depth explanations of a variety of water quality practices employed on the 80-acre farm including wetlands, terraces, sediment control basins, grassed waterways, water control structures, bioreactor, and a rain garden. 

"While prices for our crops are struggling, we want to show the continued investment farmers are making in adopting new technologies and practices to improve water quality," said Iowa Corn Growers Association President Kurt Hora, a farmer from Washington. "Legislators face similar fiscal restraints with tight or declining budgets. Today's event demonstrates the importance for state and federal investment in research, incentives, and technical assistance for farmers to continue adoption of these measures." 

Farmers, contractors, and conservation experts discussed with legislators how the practices work, how they are constructed, and the costs of installation as well as the cost-share programs currently available. Conservation partners included Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Nutrient Research & Education Council, Conservation Districts of Iowa, and Agri Drain.

"As I continue on my 99-county tour, it's important for me to hear from Iowa's farmers, contractors and conservation experts as I did today at the water quality and agriculture field day," said Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, who serves on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "Conservation starts with our farmers and in our communities, and I am continually encouraged by their level of involvement and innovation in our water quality improvement programs. I'm grateful to all those who shared their experience with me today, as this will continue to be a very critical issue for Iowa's agriculture industry moving forward."

Guests in attendance for the LICA farm tour included:

* U.S. Senator Joni Ernst

* Staff from the offices of U.S. Representatives Rod Blum and Dave Loebsack 

* Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey

* USDA-NRCS State Conservationist Kurt Simon

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is a 7,500-member strong grassroots-driven organization, headquartered in Johnston, Iowa, serving members across the state, and lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its farmer members to create opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. For more information, visit iowacorn.org

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