If you are interested in learning more about soil conservation and water quality protection in Iowa, tune in to the Iowa Learning Farms monthly webinar for August. It’s at noon Aug. 21.
This month’s session is about how Iowa Learning Farms has evolved over the past 15 years and what new goals and challenges the future holds. ILF is an award-winning education and information program carried out by Iowa State University Extension and cooperating conservation partner agencies and organizations.
“ILF started with a simple idea: Building a Culture of Conservation in Iowa through helping farmers talk to other farmers about protecting Iowa’s soil and water,” says Jacqueline Comito, program director for Iowa Learning Farms. “Through the years, our tactics and tools have evolved, but the fundamental strategy of applying a multidisciplinary approach to increase adoption of conservation practices has led to increased practices and greater natural resource protection.”
Accomplishments, future challenges
Comito will explain and discuss ILF’s approach to outreach and education and will reference the “Building a Culture of Conservation — 2004-19” report, which was published in March. The 15-year report highlights the program’s successes, growth and impacts, as well as some of the challenges faced and goals for the future.
“The report contains a lot of good news, but also highlights some challenges we face in Iowa,” Comito says. “We’ve made a good start. We’ve built the foundation of this “culture of conservation,” but that’s only the beginning. We’ve established difficult but attainable goals for the next five to 10 years for us to continue to be successful.”
Key findings from the report include that ILF farmer-partners have expanded to include 88 farmers located in 51 Iowa counties, field days have grown from five to 32 annually and have engaged over 32,500 attendees, and cover crops were planted on more than 880,000 acres in 2018. These findings and more will be discussed during the webinar.
To watch, go to iowalearningfarms.org/page/webinars and click the link to join the webinar shortly before noon to download the Zoom software and log in option. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for watching at any time.