REPORT: Soil Health and Water Quality Sustainability Analysis

Smart Soil Partnership Program

The 2022 Iowa State Fair captured our love and celebration of agriculture, food and family--all things important to Iowans.

The state fair is also an opportunity to gather and learn, which is why we felt it was the perfect time to share the findings of a study conducted on soil health and water quality sustainability.
Watersheds, rivers, water quality and drinking water have gotten quite a bit of attention in recent years--and rightly so--it’s an important issue for all Iowans.

The study gathered data from 14 family farms that receive manure from our hog farms--encompassing 14,702 acres--located in the Raccoon River Watershed during the 2021 growing season.

The report indicated that the soil erosion rate of fields in the study was 0.64 tons per acre (T/ac) – in contrast to the Iowa average of 5.9 T/ac (and national average of 4.6 T/ac). The fields in this project have been rated an overall + (positive) trajectory for the USDA’s Soil Conditioning Index.
The study shows the benefits of hog manure on soil health and the positive impact on curtailing erosion.

Now we have the data that provides measurable numbers and a direct correlation between responsible manure management and conservation practices and improving soil health--all of which helps combat soil erosion and protect water quality.