The Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here tour will visit Lee Tesdell’s Century Farm in Slater, Iowa, today. The stop, hosted by Montag Manufacturing and Hagie Manufacturing, highlights the Tesdell family’s use of cover crops to improve soil health and water quality while maintaining its operational productivity and profitability.
“It’s always fun to recognize an Iowa Century Farm family, like the Tesdells,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “A family must overcome significant challenges to maintain ownership of their land for over 100 years. The Tesdell family has shown their commitment to protecting both their fertile soil and their farming legacy by incorporating conservation practices into their operation. They use cover crops to enhance their soil health so future generations of their family can continue productively farming these acres.”
The Tesdell family has used a Hagie Montag Interseeder to seed cover crops into standing row crops for the past several years.
“We are excited to showcase the work that has been done on Lee Tesdell’s farm to help improve water quality through the adoption of cover crops. We’ve helped seed these cover crops with the Hagie/Montag Interseeder for three of the last four years,” said Anthony Montag, CEO of Montag Manufacturing. “What we see on the farm today are cover crops that were seeded on Sept. 2 into 15-inch beans, thus giving them the necessary jump start to more effectively build biomass and uptake excess nutrients to assist in meeting Lee’s conservation and business goals.”
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship offers cost-share funds through the state’s Water Quality Improvement (WQI) program to help farmers incorporate cover crops. Farmers can sign-up for cover crop cost-share through their local Soil and Water Conservation District office until Oct. 7.
The Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign, created by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and Newsradio 1040 WHO, aims to raise awareness about the conservation work underway across Iowa, and encourages all Iowans to get personally involved in water quality activities.
The Big Show will visit locations throughout Iowa showcasing the people and practices that are having a positive and measurable impact on water quality. The conversations with farmers, landowners, business operators and conservation leaders will be broadcast Wednesdays on The Big Show airing 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on WHO and 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on WMT.
The implementation of conservation practices isn’t limited to rural areas. Urban residents can do their part by keeping leaves, grass clippings and other yard debris out of the street and gutters and slowing runoff and recycling rainwater through rain barrels, rain gardens and swales. These practices act as a filter for oil, fertilizer and other pollutants to prevent them from running into the storm drains. Seeding pollinator habitats and properly disposing of paints, solvents and metals also have a positive impact on water quality.
Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign partners include Agri-Drain, Hagie Manufacturing, Hands on Excavating, Heartland Co-op, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Land Improvement Contractors of America, Montag Manufacturing, and The Nature Conservancy.