ANKENY, Iowa — Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA), comprised of ag retailers across Iowa, elected officers at their board of directors meeting in late February, their first meeting of the new fiscal year.
Mark Kriegshauser with Helena Agri-Enterprises was elected president. Dan Dix of NEW Cooperative was re-elected as vice president. Dan Asklund with Van Diest Supply will serve as secretary, and Thomas Fawcett, Heartland Cooperative, was elected treasurer.
ACWA members are comprised of agricultural retailers who are in direct competition but have been united for more than 20 years in the goal of improving and protecting Iowa’s water quality while maintaining profitability for their clients.
At the recent ACWA board meeting, directors reviewed the status of the current work plan and approved the work plan for fiscal year 2022. One of the priorities of the work plan has been the expansion of membership across the state, beyond the group’s original boundaries of the Des Moines and Raccoon River watersheds. This effort continues to be a priority this year and into the future.
“The support and collaboration of ag retailers and associate members has had a substantial impact in the Des Moines and Raccoon River watersheds over the past 22 years,” says Kriegshauser. “It’s important we share these learnings and successes with farmers across the state in order to continue our mission of protecting our water and soil.”
The ACWA board also recognized successes in the Farm to River Partnership, a project that ACWA oversees in the North Raccoon watershed, now in its fourth year. The goals are to increase edge-of-field practices such as bioreactors, saturated buffers and targeted wetlands, and increase cover crop acres on farmland to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus entering rivers and streams.
Support for Conservation Agronomist positions is also gaining ground. ACWA launched the concept of embedding experts in agricultural conservation practices with ag retailers to work in tandem with staff field agronomists. The network of Conservation Agronomists continues to expand across the state.
Because of these collaborative efforts, ACWA is evolving the rural landscape of Iowa. In the Des Moines and Raccoon River priority watersheds, more than 1,400 acres have moved to no-till or strip-tillage; 40 edge-of-field practices have been enrolled in cost-share programs; and cover crops are on 24,400 new acres. The implemented conservation practices have resulted in the reduction of 245,000 pounds of nitrogen loss and more than 8,600 pounds of phosphorus loss.
“All these efforts will continue in the new work plan,” says Roger Wolf, ACWA executive director. “We intend to secure new ACWA members and expand our program’s offerings by growing support for conservation agronomists. Our internal work groups are providing a strong leadership voice as we implement the work plan and continue to evolve.”
2021 Annual Report Released
The ACWA 2021 Annual Report has recently been published and is on the website. Highlights include an overview of the three Core Pillars — an outcome from the group’s strategic planning — Leader and Advocate, Innovate and Sustain, and Science to Solutions. A component of the Core Pillars includes the establishment of three work groups to advance the organization’s goals: Membership Services, Programs and Projects, and Communications. Other highlights include updates on the water monitoring program, conservation agronomists, Farm to River Partnership, and the ACWA Code of Practice.
For more information about ACWA and to read the annual report, visit www.awcaiowa.com
Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA) is a non-profit association whose mission is identifying and advancing solutions that reduce nutrient loss, build healthier soils, and improve Iowa’s waters. ACWA is recognized for its ability to build upon its members’ extensive relationship with farmers across Iowa.
— Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance