Jim AndersenCouncil Bluffs, Iowa
Jim is the son of a conservation farmer, and he's tried to carry on in this tradition. He's been working with farmers in agribusiness for nearly four decades.
What are you doing to practice and promote soil and water quality?
Our farm is a century farm. I moved to it when I was two-and-a-half years old, and that's where I was raised. I remember that dad built his first terrace in 1950 and my grandpa, who owned the farm, wondered if he knew what he was doing or not, but we've been doing it ever since. We've put in more terraces, headlands, grass waterways and buffer strips. Now we've upgraded our terraces so that they're A-shaped so that there's no dead spot at the top of the terrace when the big white combines go through.
What needs for soil health and water quality do you see in your region/county?
We have Grayville creek that runs through our farm. We see sediment after heavy rains, but the water has cleared up in the last 20 years under normal circumstances. Our soil loss has gone down through our conservation efforts, and we're able to retain more water in the soil for crop use, and our yields have really gone up. I can't say how much is due to conservation, but I can certainly say that we've increased yields; they look great.
What could be done with more public funding for soil and water quality?
We have not ever been in a watershed development program, but I have heard about them and seen them in the area. Funding should be used to promote those kinds of programs, to collect some data, to have some meetings, to show the data, and have everybody give their testimonies about what it's done in their place.