Appreciating Iowa's bounty

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We totally concur with recently re-elected Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley's assessment that the beauty and bounty of Iowa's own natural resources are too often underestimated.

Grassley asks Iowans to consider how Iowa's agricultural abundance has made important contributions to global food security, humanitarian relief, economic growth, job creation and national security.

Harnessing Iowa's natural resources - from traditional row crops to biomass and wind - bears untold potential to help achieve America's goal to increase the supply and demand for clean, renewable, homegrown energy in the 21st century.

Before "green jobs" and "green energy" became politically popular, Iowa farmers for generations have honored a culture of conservation and conscientious stewardship.

Maintaining and improving water and soil quality is fundamental to a farmer's livelihood, land values and long-term prosperity. From reduced tillage, to installing terraces and cover crops, farmers look for ways to protect valuable natural resources.

The federal government also encourages producers to maintain and expand their conservation practices through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The 2008 farm bill authorized funds that in the last year dedicated more than $20 million to Iowa farmers, covering nearly 800,000 acres.

To be considered for the next round of funding, farmers must apply before January 7, 2011. Check in with the local USDA Natural Resources Conservation field office or its website: www.nrcs.usda.gov to learn more about eligibility requirements.

Iowa's agricultural abundance once again set a high bar this harvest season. According to the USDA, Iowa's corn crop is estimated to reach over 2.1 billion bushels, averaging 167 bushels per acre compared to the national average of 154 bushels.

The USDA estimates the soybean harvest in Iowa will average 52 bushels per acre.

As Iowans gather around their Thanksgiving table to recount their blessings with friends and family, we join the Senator in giving thanks to farmers whose hard work puts food on our tables 365 days a year and to Iowa's agricultural bounty that keeps on giving year after year.