UNI supports farming innovation in rural Iowa

Rural Iowa farming

UNI’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) is working to highlight farmer innovations in ecological farming systems that improve soil, water and biodiversity without using pesticides. This summer, CEEE’s Farming for Public Health program is working with Practical Farmers of Iowa and farm families across the state’s rural communities to provide a series of field days to showcase natural weed control practices.

“Iowa’s farm families are showing that natural, innovative weed control practices are helping improve the quality of their soils, saving them on expenses and improving their bottom line,” said Audrey Tran Lam, who leads Farming for Public health. “So, what we have in these field days are proof-of-concept for practical solutions that not only improve soil and water but improve rural vitality.”

Each field day allows an Iowa farmer to open up their farm to demonstrate natural approaches to weed control and soil enrichment. Practices such as crop rotation, cover crops, flame and electric weeding, and small grains are among the effective practices Iowa farmers will highlight.

“These approaches are time-tested, cost effective and within reach,” said Tran Lam. “Through each field day, we are helping farmers who are interested in environmentally sustainable farming learn how to adopt these practices.”

From Sioux to Winneshiek counties, CEEE is engaging with rural leaders to raise awareness about effective and sustainable farming practices. Upcoming field days include:
Organic Row Crop Production and Mechanical Weed Control: Wednesday, July 17, 1 to 3 p.m., Sutherland
Transition to Organic With Diversity to Improve Soil Balance: Wednesday, August 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Remsen

Visit the Practical Farmers of Iowa events webpage for additional field days and to learn more.