AMES, Iowa — The Conservation Learning Group, a think tank based at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and dedicated to addressing conservation and environmental challenges, has been recognized by the American Society of Agronomy for its Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual.
The manual was named as the first-place recipient of a Certificate of Excellence for long publications in the ASA Extension Education Community Educational Materials Awards Program. The award was announced at the organization’s annual meeting held in Salt Lake City.
In selecting the manual for this award, the judges noted its superior quality. The manual is a full color, 61-page publication created through a consensus building process in partnership with landowners and farmers, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa NRCS, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Iowa Soybean Association, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Soil and Water Conservation Society and ISU Extension and Outreach.
“We are honored to have our work recognized by the ASA in its Educational Materials Award Program,” said Mark Licht, assistant professor in agronomy and cropping systems specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “The manual is designed as a hands-on guide for farmers and landowners to use in assessing which conservation practices may be appropriate for their land, cropping system and operational objectives. We have received substantial feedback from farmers and agronomists who have utilized the decision trees from the manual to determine how to move forward on implementing conservation practices with confidence.”
Contributors named in the award include Iowa State’s Liz Ripley, Mark Licht, Kay Stefanik, Matt Helmers, Jacqueline Comito, Ann Staudt, Jamie Benning, Nathan Stevenson and Jim Jordahl. Sarah Carlson and Stefan Gailans, from Practical Farmers of Iowa, and Chris Hay, from the Iowa Soybean Association, rounded out the core team.
The Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual is designed to facilitate conservation practice decision-making by landowners and farmers through step-by-step guides relevant to many different topologies, soils, cropping systems and goals. During the first 18 months, more than 1,950 copies were distributed through the ISU Extension Store and an additional 10,000 copies were distributed to NRCS district offices throughout Iowa. It covers in-field topics including tillage management, cover crops and diverse rotations and edge-of-field practices such as wetlands, bioreactors, saturated buffers, controlled drainage and prairie strips. The manual also provides detailed information regarding implementation and expected outcomes as well as comprehensive graphical decision trees to aid farmers in determining the best approaches for each area on their farm.
To order or download a free copy of the Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual, visit the ISU Extension Store.
This manual is a joint publication of Iowa State University and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under No. 6000004181.
About Conservation Learning Group
Conservation Learning Group is a collaborative team established to advance training, outreach and research across land uses and production systems to increase overall sustainability of agricultural and natural systems for multiple generations to come. CLG draws on experts in various disciplines to deliver engaging science-based outreach to farmers, agricultural advisers, landowners, decision makers, youth and communities. To learn more about Conservation Learning Group visit www.ConservationLearningGroup.org.
— Iowa State University Extension and Outreach