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Activities and research

The Agronomy Department at Iowa State University and the USDA-ARS National Soil Tilth Lab conduct research and outreach focused on cover crops.  Cover crop research projects address their effectiveness in improving soil and water quality and their potential for biomass production in bioenergy feedstock systems. Other field and greenhouse studies are being conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of cover crops in reducing nitrate loss utilizing chemical tracers. Agronomy Extension faculty in collaboration with the National Soil Tilth Lab scientists and other state and federal agencies are currently involved in a statewide effort to promote the use of cover crops in areas affected by the 2008 flood.

Along with these research and extension projects, significant outreach and on-farm demonstration projects are being conducted by the Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) and the Iowa Learning Farm (ILF) across the state of Iowa. The PFI is a non-profit, educational group that was established in 1985 to address issues facing Iowa farmers. Since 1988, the PFI has conducted 27 on-farm studies looking at cover crops. The ILF is a statewide initiative, begun in 2005, involving farmer cooperators, agency partners, and university personnel. Together the PFI, ILF, ISU Agronomy Faculty, and the Leopold Center are conducting a statewide project with the core mission of promoting conservation practices to improve soil and water quality in the state using various measures, including the use of cover crops.

Learn more about cover crops programs at the ISU Agronomy Department and the National Soil Tilth Lab here.

Learn about the Iowa Learning Farm (ILF), the Leopold Center and the Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) here.

 

State representative

Tom Kaspar

Tom Kaspar
Plant Physiologist/Agronomist
United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
National Soil Tilth Laboratory
2110 University Blvd.
Ames, Iowa  50010-3120
Voice: 515-294-8873
Fax: 515-294-8125
E-mail: Tom.Kaspar@ars.usda.gov

Visit the National Soil Tilth Laboratory website here.

Tom has been with ARS since 1981 and at the National Soil Tilth Laboratory (NSTL) since its opening in 1989.  The overall objective of his research has been to minimize the environmental impacts of agriculture, while maintaining soil productivity and crop yields.  Specifically he has worked on crop root growth, no-till, planting systems, compaction, N management, and small grain cover crops.  Recently, his work has focused on documenting the water quality and soil productivity benefits of including winter cover crops in corn-soybean cropping systems and developing new cover crop management practices to make that more feasible.

Click here for links to Tom Kaspar's projects and publications.

 

Other important contacts and programs in Iowa

Mahdi Al-Kaisi
Associate Professor
Iowa State University
2104 Agronomy Hall
Ames, IA 50011
Phone: 515-294-8304
E-mail: malkaisi@iastate.edu

Carol Brown
Communications Specialist
Iowa Learning Farms
Iowa State University
2401 Agronomy Hall
Ames, IA 50011-1010
Phone: 515/294-8912
E-mail: cbrown1@iastate.edu

Sarah Carlson
Midwest Cover Crop Research Coordinator
Practical Farmers of Iowa
137 Lynn Ave, Suite 200
Ames, IA 50014
Phone: 515-232-5661
E-mail: sarah@practicalfarmers.org

Matt Liebman
Professor
Iowa State University
Department of Agronomy
3405 Agronomy Hall
Ames, IA 50011-1010
Phone: 515-294-7486
E-mail: mliebman@iastate.edu

John Lundvall
Field Coordinator
Iowa Learning Farms
Iowa State University
2505 Agronomy Hall
Ames, Iowa 50011-1010
Phone: 515/294-5429
E-mail: jlundval@iastate.edu

Jeri Neal
Ecological Systems Research Program Leader
The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Iowa State University
209 Curtiss Hall
Ames, IA 50011-1050
Phone: 515-204-5610
E-mail: wink@iastate.edu

Jeremy Singer
Agronomist
United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
National Soil Tilth Laboratory
2110 University Blvd.
Ames, Iowa  50010-3120
Voice: 515-294-5502
FAX: 515-294-8125
E-mail: Jeremy.Singer@ars.usda.gov

MCCC Report

Links

Iowa State University

Practical Farmers of Iowa

Other links


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