Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today during their weekly press conference highlighted Iowa Soil and Water Conservation Week, which runs from April 29 to May 6. They were joined by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey as they discussed the important conservation work being done in the state and encouraging all residents to continue to work to protect the state's soil and water resources.
"Iowans have a culture of conservation due to our close connection to the land and a long history of recognizing the importance of being environmental stewards," Branstad said. "Agriculture has been a key driver of the state's economy and farmers understand better than anyone that we need to protect our natural resources for future generations."
Branstad previously signed a proclamation recognizing Soil and Water Conservation Week in Iowa that highlighted the abundance of our state's agricultural production and the high quality of life we enjoy are dependent upon the proper use and management of our soil and water resources.
"This week we will be participating in a number of events to highlight the good work going in our rural and urban communities to protect our air, soil and water," said Reynolds. "We wanted to highlight a few of the new and exciting conservation projects that are taking place across the state."
This Tuesday, May 1, Branstad and Reynolds will participate in a Rathbun Lake Watershed Field Day on a farm near Chariton and then on Friday, May 4 they attend a Scott County Urban Conservation Showcase in the Quad Cities area.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's Division of Soil Conservation and Polk Soil and Water Conservation District will co-host an urban conservation tour in downtown Des Moines on Thursday, May 3 at 1 p.m. The tour will start at the Iowa Utilities Board, 1375 E Court Ave., at 1 p.m. and then visit two other sites in downtown Des Moines to showcase bioretention cells, native landscaping, permeable paving, rain gardens and a green roof.
"We need rural and urban to work together to help manage the rain that falls in our cities and on our farms," Northey said. "We are in the process of developing a statewide nutrient reduction strategy to identify the conservation practices that are most effective and give farmers and landowners even better tools to ensure Iowa's continued place in successful crop farming, while improving the sustainability of Iowa's fertile soils and the quality of Iowa's waters."
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's Division of Soil Conservation partner with the 100 Soil and Water Conservations Districts located in each county to fulfill Iowa's conservation mission. The Department's conservation partners include USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and Iowa State University, among many others.