Planting season in Iowa won’t start until mid-April, but farmers are doing everything but waiting to get into the fields.
While some producers are marketing last year’s crop or performing maintenance on the machines they’ll use to plant this year’s crops, some are wrapping up conservation work.
Farmer Kevin Rempp in Montezuma was working on grassed waterways at the very end of March, which protect against erosion by slowing down rainwater and conveying it to another outlet.
He explains why he works on waterways, ”Well, over time these waterways have built up with some dirt in the center of them. So I’ve torn them up a little with a disk, and now I’m going through with this machine. It kind of digs it up in the center, and throws it up on the hillsides, or if you do have a low trench on the side I can place it right down into, right where the dirt had washed out, or just wherever I might need it, but normally I try to blow it back up on the hillsides, and that way get a good slope on your waterways. I probably haven’t touched these for over 20 years, and they just need some maintenance on them.”
Waterways are also an important conservation tool for farmers.
”If you don’t have a waterway in place, the water will run off the hills in big rains, and it will make a rut in the waterway. And, it’s just helping not put a wear and tear on your equipment, not having to bounce through ruts and stuff. This way, you have a nice, smooth waterway, and just leave, come from the field, go across your waterway, and back into the field.” Rempp says, ”It’s all about the environment and trying to be good stewards of the land."
Looking to the future is important to Rempp, ”I mean, this is what my livelihood will be; my son’s and my grandson’s livelihood. We don’t want to lose any more soil than absolutely possible. So I mean, a little bit of maintenance, and conservation practices like waterways and, I mean, put the waterway in, we’ll seed these down, and that will stop the water from flowing, and hopefully prevent any wash or runoff then.”