Webinar Series on Ag Drainage Water Management Announced

A team of Extension specialists from several universities in the Upper Midwest is developing a series of webinars on agricultural drainage water management and drainage water quality. Each of the webinars—to be presented monthly from July through December—will provide best management practices for improving drainage water quality and information from multiple states across the Midwest.

The six, one-hour webinars will be held monthly at 9 a.m. Central Time on the following Wednesdays: July 22, Aug. 19, Sept. 16, Oct. 21, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16. Topics to be presented include: landscape-level nutrient reduction, controlled drainage, bioreactors, saturated buffers, wetlands, and sub-irrigation and the economics of drainage. The webinars are structured to provide both the perspective of the farmer/practitioner and the research/extension specialist.

The first webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, July 22, and will feature Tim Smith of Iowa and Wayne Anderson of Minnesota. They will present information on landscape-level nutrient reduction. Those wishing to participate can log in at: https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/bcch/. Each person logging in to the session will need to click the “Enter as a Guest” button.

Tim Smith farms 800 acres near Eagle Grove in north central Iowa. His crops are evenly split between corn and beans with 35 acres enrolled in CRP. In 2011, Tim became involved with the MRBI program using 550 acres in the Boone River watershed. He utilizes cover crops, strip tillage, prairie strips, nutrient management practices, and a woodchip bioreactor. He has begun doing nitrogen rate and nitrogen source comparisons. In 2012, Tim received an Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award from the Iowa DNR and, in 2014, a Good Steward Recognition award from the National Corn Growers Association.

Wayne Anderson has worked for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for 42 years. A registered professional engineer, he initially worked in the feedlot program and supervised the development of nonpoint source control program and watershed management assistance. He has been the state’s coordinating committee member for the National Gulf Hypoxia Task Force since its inception in 1997. Wayne is currently focusing on implementing effective solutions through the state’s clean water programs and serves as a strategy coordinator for Minnesota’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

Target audiences for the webinar series include NRCS employees, Extension personnel, nongovernment groups, producers, commodity groups, and state agencies in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. EPA and other federal agencies are also encouraged to participate.

This distance learning effort is led by Drs. Chris Hay of South Dakota State University, Matt Helmers of Iowa State University, Gary Sands of University of Minnesota, Jane Frankenburger of Purdue University, Larry Brown at The Ohio State University, Kelly Nelson of the University of Missouri, Tom Scherer of North Dakota State University, Richard Cooke at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Gary Letterly with University of Illinois Extension. The webinar series is funded by USDA NRCS as part of the Drainage Water Management Level 2 training.

For questions contact Connie Cannon at Iowa State University, ccannon@iastate.edu or 515.294.1230.