Conservation in Action Self Guided Tour
May 01, 2023
Conservation in Action Self Guided TourWhile driving through Benton and Linn counties it is hard not to recognize the amount of land that is in agricultural production. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, Benton county ranks sixth and Linn county ranks thirty-ninth in the state in row crop production. Benton county has nearly 350,000 acres and Linn county 251,000 acres in corn or soybeans. 91% of Benton County and 88% of Linn county agriculture acres are in row crops.
Why are these numbers important? Because the numbers display how East Central Iowa contributes to feeding, fueling, and clothing the world. More than that, but how it contributes to Iowa’s economy overall. It’s important for cash flow and jobs. One in six Iowans are employed in agriculture. Agriculture is important for Iowans!
Over the past decade, conservation practices have been on the rise. Mainly in adopting cover crops on row crop acres. Ten years ago the state was less than one million acres in cover crops. Iowa has almost tripled cover crops in that time frame. Conservation tillage such as: vertical tillage and strip tillage have increased. No tillage has also increased. Edge of field practices such as: denitrifying bioreactors, saturated buffers, and wetlands have increased. In 2019 bioreactors and saturated buffers were treating 3,500 acres of row crops. Wetlands were treating just shy of 125,000 acres statewide. This has all been a part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction strategy put in place ten years ago. Cost share programs have drastically assisted with these practices. But as farmers, crop consultants, and agriculture retailers understand how to manage them along with the benefits, the implementations stay longer “just this year”.
If you want to see how these practices have increased on the landscape, take a drive out to eastern Benton County and western Linn county. In this area there is a self guided tour. This tour is “Conservation in Action”. It is a sixteen-stop tour that showcases twenty practices in a fifteen mile area. These practices are: various cover crop species, long term no tillage, strip tillage, a wetland, a pollinator plot, and cattle grazing cover crops. The tour route is between Morgan Creek park and Atkins.
All of these acres are happening right here in Linn Coop territory. Stop in at Newhall to get a map of these locations or follow this link to the Iowa Soybean Association’s website to access it on your cellular device. See Conservation in Action right in your backyard!
- Take a picture of a field sign and receive $2 off a drink at Textile TapHaus!
- Scan the QR code at sites 3, 13.1/13.2, or Newhall location for a chance to win gift cards!
- Send Evan Brehm a picture of a field sign for a special prize!
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