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King, Northey visit conservation test farm

By Staff | May 24, 2014

TIM RECKER, of the Iowa Land Improvement Contractors Association, talks about conservation practices on May 13 at a test farm near Melbourne. Listening are U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, center, and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, right.

MELBOURNE – If it’s a soil conservation practice done in Iowa, chances are it’s at the test farm of the Iowa Land Improvement Contractors Association near Melbourne.

U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, were among dozens to tour the farm on May 13 as part of a field day.

The farm uses conservation land practices including wetlands, terraces, grassed waterways, cover crops, a rain garden and bioreactor.

A big topic of discussion is the continued practice of nutrient management strategies by producers.

“It is important because it’s going to help us keep our soil in place and create better water quality,” Northey said. “We learn more as we are going.

“Momentum is in the right direction.”

As an indication of how far producers have come, King told the story of a neighbor who was laughed at for his no-till practices on the farm years ago.

Those same people who laughed at him are now also using no-till to conserve soil.

“We’ve just made a lot of progress,” King said.

King said he sees funding nutrient management programs as important to all of the country and not just as a subsidy to farmers.

“We are all invested in the productivity of our soil,” King said. “The value of this land is tremendously powerful.”

Ben Gleason, of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, said other state legislators were also in attendance to see the conservation projects up close.

“They appropriated the money for water quality initiatives,” Gleason said. “It’s important they see the public benefit of these practices that use the program.”

Gleason said the nutrient management program has taken a step forward in 2014.

“I think (producers) have been very receptive,” Gleason said. “First, it was awareness and now the next step is what can they do on their farm.”

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