Cover Crop, Relay Cropping, and No-Till Workshop to be Held at Madison County Fairgrounds December 1 

AMES, Iowa—Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Madison County Soil & Water Conservation District, will host a cover crop workshop Thursday, December 1 from 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. at the Jackson Building on the Madison County Fairgrounds in Winterset. The free event is open to farmers and landowners and includes a complimentary meal.  

Cover crops offer many benefits to farmers and landowners including reduced soil erosion, weed suppression potential, reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, and increased organic matter in the soil. When paired with no-tillage additional benefits include increased water infiltration and reduced erosion during heavy rain events.  

With changes to recent Risk Management Agency federal crop insurance guidelines, interest is growing the area of relay cropping a winter cereal grain like rye or wheat with soybeans. Relay cropping is a system where a second crop is planted into an established crop before harvesting the first crop.  

Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to hear from a panel of local Madison County farmers: Dennis McLaughlin, Jon Peterson, and Randy Gamble. They are going to discuss their experiences with cover crops and no-till as well as answer any questions from an operator perspective.  

Ruth Blomquist, NRCS Soil Health Specialist, will discuss a few quick and easy ways to evaluate the benefits of soil health practices on your own. Alex Schaffer, Iowa Soybean Association Field Services Program Manager, will share relay cropping. Anna Golightly, Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District Conservation Assistant, will discuss cost share options.  

The workshop will be held at the Jackson Building on the Madison County Fairgrounds, 1146 West Summit St., Winterset, IA 50273.  

The event is free and open to farmers and landowners, though we require reservations to ensure adequate space and food. For reasonable accommodations and to RSVP please contact Alena Whitaker at 515-294-2473 or Attendees will be entered in a drawing for ISU Prairie Strips honey.  

Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. 

Iowa Learning Farms field days and workshops are supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit

About Iowa Learning Farms 

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation by encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms include the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land StewardshipIowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable AgricultureUSDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural ResourcesEPA Section 319 Grant Program and GROWMARK, Inc.  

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