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Cover-Cropping Highlighted at Iowa's Farm Progress Show

Amidst tariff talks, Iowa hosted the nation's largest outdoor farm equipment show this week. (Josh Flint/Farm Progress Show)
Amidst tariff talks, Iowa hosted the nation's largest outdoor farm equipment show this week. (Josh Flint/Farm Progress Show)
August 30, 2018

BOONE, Iowa – Farmers want to get as much out of the soil as they put into it, and many say the use of cover crops is helping them.

Paul Ackley is sharing his story this week with other farmers at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, specifically how to integrate cattle and sheep into a cover-cropping system.

Ackley has been farming for 50 years in southwest Iowa. He says he's hooked on cover-cropping and encourages others to try it because he believes farmers need to modify planting and harvesting methods.

"The current production model is headed for a wreck,” he states. “We're losing tons of soil – they say more bushel of soil than crops we harvest at times. And we have to change, and so, yes, I'm hooked on it."

Practical Farmers is on hand to answer questions from the 100,000 people expected to visit the Farm Progress Show before it closes at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Ackley, who in addition to cattle and sheep raises corn, soybeans and wheat, says farm soil is a farmer's wealth, and notes he's reduced the use of fertilizer and chemical applications with cover-cropping.

He adds that there's a lot more awareness and interest in conservation methods at the Farm Show than even two years ago.

"I think we'd like to see farms have more resilience and healthier soil, and I think to do that, I think we have to have more farmers and not less with bigger equipment,
he states. “I think we have to have someone that's out there that's reading the land on a daily or weekly basis."

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visited the show on Wednesday and said he hopes trade disputes between the U.S., Mexico and Canada can be resolved before harvest time.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - IA