Mark is a Bremer County no-till farmer who grows corn, soybeans and raises rye grain and alfalfa alongside his father. Mark is the District 3 Director of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and serves as chair of its Exports & Grain Trade Committee. He is also a past chairman of the US Grains Council's Western Hemisphere Committee, as Iowa Corn's representative on the board of the Iowa Nutrient Research & Education Council and is a participant in the Soil Health Partnership.
What are you doing to practice and promote soil and water quality?
We plant cover crops on all our acres, usually rye grain but sometimes with tillage radishes to break up compaction. I've held field days for the Soil Health Partnership and Iowa Learning Farms on my farm and spoken to college classes, extension meetings and service clubs about my conservation practices. We've been no-till for at least 15 years, built terraces and waterways, and are starting a wetland with funding from IDALS next spring. I've written articles for various publications, and some of my neighbors buy their cereal rye seed from me.
What else is being done in your county to support soil and water quality?
The previously mentioned wetland will be the first to be created in Bremer County and the folks in the county NRCS office are quite excited. We're planning a field day during construction at the site and Iowa Corn and INREC have expressed interest in participating. Even the Waverly city engineer was aware of this pending wetland, and I never told him about it!
What could be done with more public funding for soil and water quality?
It’s something I’ll have to think about more. The Cedar River goes by some of my property, and I've put some of that into a floodway easement and planted trees. Other parts of that field have gone into pollinator habitat and CRP. The muddy, murky Cedar will benefit from any program money that can assist adjoining landowners to adopt filter strips and bank stabilization projects along the river.