Michael Vittetoe

Washington, Iowa

Michael has a multi-generation family farm just east of the city of Washington.

Q&A

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

The primary conservation practice we've implemented in our operation is cover crops, mainly cereal rye. We're using cereal rye on almost every acre of our row crops. The most significant benefit we're seeing is erosion control and water infiltration — and we've been able to cut our herbicide program almost in half.

What needs for soil health and water quality do you see in your region/county?

Water quality is super important, and a big thing that everybody talks about is the nitrogen in the water. Cover crops help with that a lot. But still, I believe the number one nutrient we have in our water from ag land is phosphorous, which comes from soil loss. Anytime we can keep soil on our farms and out of our water systems, it's going to be a good thing. And any tool that we can utilize to do that will benefit our operations and society as a whole.

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

Getting more livestock on the land, no matter what species someone wants to run. If they're willing to get livestock out on the land, that's a beneficial enterprise and should be supported. If we can implement a program like that, I think it'd be constructive.