The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and the Iowa Land Improvement Contractors Association (LICA) have launched a unique private sector initiative to demonstrate technology-based conservation practice planning, called the Iowa Conservation Action Network (IACAN).
“What we currently use in the public sector for conservation technical assistance isn’t keeping up today,” said Roger Zylstra, a farmer from Central Iowa and the President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. “We can do a better job and through technology, we can accelerate our adoption rate and have better farmer support of Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”
IACAN will offer subsidized conservation planning assistance to ICGA and ISA farmer members for a limited time in five priority watersheds: Floyd, Turkey, Middle Cedar, and East and West Nishnabotna. Members in these watersheds can call, email or attend meetings to get planning assistance for grassed waterways, wetlands, ponds, sediment basins and soil loss assessments.
“This project is a great opportunity for ISA and ICGA members in these watersheds to receive conservation planning assistance,” according to Brian Kemp, Iowa Soybean Association President and farmer from Sibley. “ISA is committed to helping Iowa farmers engage in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, and this project is a great opportunity to test some cutting edge tools.”
The planning assistance relies on a suite of conservation practice planning software developed by Iowa-based small-business, Agren. The Agren software utilizes aerial imagery and high resolution elevation data to reduce the time to plan conservation practices from weeks to just minutes.
Chairman of Iowa LICA, Tim Recker said, “By combining resources, we have the capacity to make a significant and long-term impact on conservation delivery in Iowa. Furthermore, as representatives of farm and earth-moving businesses in Iowa, we aim to preserve the livelihoods of our member businesses.”