Des Moines Area Community College’s (DMACC) FFA Enrichment Center beamed with conversation, as an audience filled with ladies patiently awaited the start of Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Julie Kenney’s speech at the 2019 Iowa Women in Agriculture Conference on August 1st.
As Iowa’s Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Kenney is very well in-tune with Iowa’s agricultural challenges and “hot topics”. Julie says her team’s current focus is on building more markets for Iowa, which encompasses a variety of categories.
“The Secretary in Ag, a huge focus for him, and all of us at the department, is how do we build more markets for Iowa products. So, certainly, that touches on things like trade, renewable fuels, animal health, livestock, all of those kinds of things. Also talking about soil conservation and water quality, and how we can continue to implement the states Nutrient Reduction Strategy, and really get more conservation practices on the ground to make a measurable impact on the soil and the water,” shared Kenney.
Kenney says her family is passionate about conservation, and has had very good luck with cover crops on their own operation.
“Just like all Iowa farm families, we’re focused on how do we build and continue that farm for the next generation. So, it is all the conversation practices that farmers have been doing, and continue to do. We have gotten really into cover crops over the last two or three years, and have had a lot of success with those. And we continue to seed those on more and more acres every year, as we learn more and get better at using cover crops in our operation. All of the other things–buffer strips, we’ve taken some marginal land out of production and seeded down pollinator habitat, and all those good things that farmers are doing all around the state. We know that there are lots of good things happening, we just need to do more, and more, and more of that,” said Kenney.
Conservation suggestions and advice were delivered by the Deputy Secretary.
“We’d really encourage people to try something new; Try to implement a new conservation practice and see how it works for you. We’ve got folks at every USDA service center around the state, so if people are interested in learning more, finding out about cost share programs, talking to our engineers, and things like that, that’s a really good place to start,” shared Kenney.