Farmer field school approach to increasing cover crop adoption in Iowa and Minnesota

2009 Annual Report for LNC09-313

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2009: $174,295.73
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Grant Recipient: Practical Farmers of Iowa
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Sarah Carlson
Practical Farmers of Iowa

Farmer field school approach to increasing cover crop adoption in Iowa and Minnesota


The project will increase adoption of cover crops and support the transition toward more continuous living cover. A wealth of information about the benefits, challenges and production recommendations for using cover crops exists. But even with this knowledge lack of adoption is prevalent. This project will not only disseminate information to farmers and key participants through farmer field schools with hands on experience and practice with the crop, field days and workshops to tell neighbors about cover crops but also incorporate farmers wealth of on-farm knowledge into a decision-making tool which will provide information for farmers in the entire NCR-SARE area. This work will be evaluated through feedback surveys, number of attendees, number of farmer inquiries about cover crops, increased number of acres and increased awareness and knowledge of cover crops by key audience participants. This campaign will give farmers the opportunity to be leaders in disseminating this information to others and relies on a proven method of learning through farmer to farmer networking.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Hold two field days in Iowa utilizing research sites Develop and disseminate four cover crop media stories Begin establishment of research locations


Held two field days in Iowa utilizing research sites: 1. Earl Hafner Panora, IA September 12, 2009 (65 attendees) 2. Whiterock Conservancy Coon Rapids, IA October 2, 2009 (40 attendees) • Featured eight different farmers use of Cover Crops in PFI Fall 2009 Newsletter Article • Established on-farm research and demonstration plots with 25 farmers in the fall of 2009 • Used aerial seeding on six farms in fall 2009 • Visited three farms for verification of establishment to set up an on-farm research 1. December 4, St. James, MN 2. October 29, Glenwood, MN 3. October 29, Madison, MN


Linda Meschke
Executive Director
Rural Advantage
1243 Lake Ave
Fairmount, MN 56031
Office Phone: 5072385449