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Updated: 2017-01-21T20:11:39Z


Iowa Learning Farms Releases New 'Talking With Your Tenant' Publication Series


Iowa Learning Farms created a publication series with talking points and relevant research findings about a variety of conservation practices to assist landowner and tenant discussions.

AMES, Iowa  — Caring for Iowa’s farmland requires many decisions that impact today and future generation’s ability to best utilize the land for agricultural production. Land rental relationships can vary, but many face similar challenges when discussing new conservation practices with a tenant or landlord.  To help begin the conversation, Iowa Learning Farms created a publication series with talking points and relevant research findings about a variety of conservation practices.

“A large number of Iowa cropland acres are rented every year; nearly 50 percent according to recent surveys. These rented acres are greatly influenced by the tenant who farms them,” said Mark Licht, Iowa State University assistant professor of agronomy and Iowa Learning Farms advisor, who conceptualized the series.

“Landowners are integral in the decision-making process: from leasing structure and understanding farming practices, to being considerate of practice costs and profitability. With emphasis being placed on nutrient loss reduction and practices ranging from in-field to land use changes, it’s imperative for landowners and tenants to have conversations about reaching production, profitability and environmental goals,” said Licht. “These conversations can lead to improvements of soil health and water quality, along with meeting productivity and profitability goals.”

As land is passed from one generation to another, or is sold, it can lead to uncertainty for tenants and landowners alike.

“We developed this series in response to questions we heard from landowners. They wanted to understand how conservation practices such as strip-tillage and cover crops would affect both their land and the tenant’s bottom line before asking them to add these practices to their management plans,” said Jacqueline Comito, Iowa Learning Farms director. “While the name of the series is ‘Talking to Your Tenant,’ the reverse is also true. We think tenants will also find the series helpful as they educate their landowners on implementing these important practices.”

The series addresses in-field practices like cover crops, no-tillage and strip-tillage, and edge-of-field practices such as denitrifying bioreactors and wetlands. If landowners or renters with ideas for future topics for this series should contact Liz Juchems at or call 515-294-5429.  The four-part series, along with other print and video resources, is available online at Copies will also be available at Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops, or mailed upon request.

ISU Extension and Outreach Offers Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Short Course


Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will offer a two-day short course Feb. 8-9 focusing on principles of soils, soil fertility and nutrient management to help crop production professionals make more informed decisions.


Knowing Where to Look Can Lead to Wildlife Sightings


Adam Janke, assistant professor and extension wildlife specialist at Iowa State University, shares his first-hand encounter with a covey of bobwhite quail in the January issue of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Acreage Living Newsletter.


Iowa Learning Farms to Host Winter Cover Crop Workshops


Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will host cover crop workshops this winter in Floyd, Linn, Marion, Sioux and Hardin counties.

8-Year On-Farm Study Reports Improved Yields Following Cereal Rye


Cereal rye cover crops added to a corn-soybean rotation have little to no negative effect on yield and actually increased soybean yields in seven site-years and corn yield in two-sites years, according to an eight-year study conducted by the Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa.


Properly Maintaining Trees Can Help Avoid Disasters


On Dec. 17, 2016, a large tree fell on a wedding party near Los Angeles, Calif., killing one and injuring several others. While fatalities from falling trees are uncommon, this incident is a worthy reminder of the importance of properly maintaining and pruning trees in urban landscapes.


Tree Planting Brings Added Value to Communities


Healthy, properly planted trees can have a tremendously positive impact on urban environments, says Gabbi Edwards, urban forestry specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She specializes in proper planting and pruning of trees, as well as how to select the right tree for an area.


Midwest Cover Crops Council to Discuss Making Cover Crops Work


A pair of Iowa State University professors will represent the state at the 2017 Midwest Cover Crops Council Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., on March 15.


2017 Fruit and Vegetable Pesticide Applicator Course to be Offered


The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Pesticide Bureau has approved recertification credits for fruit and vegetable commercial and private pesticide applicators at the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Conference, Jan. 26-27, 2017, in Ankeny.


Transitioning to Organic Course Begins January 2017


An online course from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will help producers understand the process of transitioning to organic agriculture. The 16-week course begins Jan. 10, 2017.