USDA

Ask any farmer and they will explain the importance of soil. While seasonal weather can be the difference from a good harvest and a worrisome one, the soil moderates the long-term productivity of that harvest. The inherent properties of soil types are vital to know when it comes to management practices on any agricultural landscape.

“We rely on soil for so many different things, the list can be overwhelming at times,” said Bradley Miller, assistant professor of agronomy at Iowa State University. “You think about why the state of Iowa has the agricultural economy that it does, and that is largely because of the soil it has.”

Senior in agronomy Trace Bolsinger spent his summer working for the USDA: Natural Resource Conservation Service as a soil conservationist trainee. 

Trace spent his days working with landowners to develop, implement, maintain, and revise complex conservation plans under the 2018 Farm Bill. He also helped promote, market, and implement the initiatives of the 2018 Farm Bill. Maintaining positive relationships with private companies as well as state and federal agencies that were in relation to natural resource concerns was also an important role for Trace. He also had the opportunity to evaluate the implementation of conservation plans and their alternatives under supervision.

The Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State University has funded 16 new water quality and nutrient management projects for 2019-2020.

“I am pleased to announce the latest round of projects represent more than $2.03 million in funding for water quality research,” said Matt Helmers, Iowa Nutrient Research Center director and professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State. “The new grants bring the total number of projects funded fully or partially by the center to 92, a total of more than $10.7 million invested in nutrient-related water quality research since 2013.”

Iowa State University scientists are working toward a future in which farmers can use unmanned aircraft to spot, and even predict, disease and stress in their crops.

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