Nathan Anderson, of Aurelia, Iowa, operates Bobolink Prairie Farms. Anderson raises corn, soybeans, hay and cattle alongside his wife, Sarah and son, Fletcher. The Anderson family, which is part of a multi-generational farming operation, work to “honor God, their family and community by caring for the resources in which they were entrusted. In doing so, building a resilient and enduring family farm.”
Healthy soils play a vital role in achieving the Anderson family’s mission.
Anderson spoke to the positive economic and conservation impact of soil health improvements before the House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry. He provided the subcommittee an example of conservation working on his farm.
“My first glimpse of the conservation value of soil health principles was in the spring of 2013,” Anderson said. “By 2013, we had been using no-till and cover crops for three years. During a heavy rainfall event, water from a neighboring field was streaming off with enough force you could take a kayak across it. Once that entered our no-till and cover crop field, moving water slowed, dropped its load of sediment and infiltrated.”
Anderson then asked the subcommittee to increase funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), as well as remove existing restrictions on cover crops. He believes such actions will lead to greater adoption of conservation practices.
“We encourage funding for programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program, which directly supports farmers already taking steps to address resource concerns on the land they manage. This and other programs need to improve the flexibility to work on rented land,” Anderson said. “The soil technique of using cover crops is a sound, agronomic practice. Because of that, I ask you, the subcommittee, to move forward provisions directing the Risk Management Agency to remove special restrictions placed on cover crops.”
Anderson says, “Each one of us who is fortunate enough to farm, own or manage land leaves our own imprint on it. That imprint can be negative, neutral or positive, and can be seen for generations.” As for Anderson, he strives to leave a positive imprint for the future of food security, rural communities and family farms.