Dwight Dial

Lake City, Iowa

Dwight is a Calhoun County farmer who has been practicing no-till farming since the 1980s.

Q&A

What are you doing to practice and promote soil and water quality?

I have added many land-improvement practices to our farms since I began to farm in 1978. Terraces, grassed waterways, CRP wetland areas, CSP qualifying practices for soil health, plant health, air quality, water quality and promotion of wildlife habitat. Some of my land was enrolled for 7 years in the Soil Health Partnership Research Study and I have cover crops in four different soil- and water-quality programs.

What else is being done in your county to support soil and water quality?

One of my neighbors has just installed his third bioreactor on the Upper Raccoon River Watershed as well as a water basin that catches runoff in which he pumps irrigation water supported by the Iowa Soybean Association. Large tracts of land are now being planted to cover crops in the area not seen just a few years ago. Most of the younger generation of farmers have switched their operations to no-till. There are very few tracts of farm ground now being tilled.

What could be done with more public funding for soil and water quality?

If bioreactors are a method of reducing nitrogen loss from ground water, this is a good use of sales tax dollars to lower the rate of nitrogen in our streams and rivers. Additional support for cover crops to help trap nitrogen from leaving our soils also should be considered when directing funds to help improve our state’s water quality.