Suzanne ShirbrounFarmersburg, Iowa
Suzanne farms in Clayton County with her husband. They grow corn and soybeans and have a Pioneer seed dealership.
What are you doing to practice and promote soil and water quality?
On our farm for water and soil conservation practices, we do no-till corn into soybeans stubble; we have terraces, grass back and a broad base. We have waterways, farm on the contour, and started using cover crops in the last seven years.
What needs for soil health and water quality do you see in your region/county?
The cost of putting an acre of cover crops on this fall will be about $29-$30 an acre. The government does have some programs that pay up to $15 an acre. However, there's quite an expense there. Also, when you are using cover crops, the equipment changes because you are in a different environment in the spring when you're planting your crops. So, technology is coming along with the cover crops, but there's still an expense. One of the things I would like to see is increase the funding available to farmers because of the cost involved in investing in cover crops.
What could be done with more public funding for soil and water quality?
I would like to see more education for our consumers as to what the farmers are doing out on our land. The vast majority of farmers are conservationists one way or another, and they'll do anything to preserve their land. I'm generation No. 6 on this farm and we're in the process of bringing one of our sons in to be generation No. 7. I will do anything possible within reason to make sure that our land is just as good as I received it.