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New conservation specialist to oversee watershed project

Article cover photo
The North Raccoon Farm to River Partnership project includes goals to install 15 bioreactors, like this one, as well as 15 saturated buffers and more. Chance McDonald will oversee the project in western Iowa. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Carol Brown, ISA environmental communications specialist

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), in partnership with Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA), welcomes Chance McDonald to lead the North Raccoon Farm to River Partnership watershed project.

McDonald serves as a conservation specialist, helping farmers and landowners in five sub-watersheds of the North Raccoon River to implement conservation practices for increased water quality and soil health. The Farm to River Partnership project began in the summer of 2018 and is focused in Sac, Calhoun, Carroll, and Greene counties.

McDonald’s position is unique as he will conduct his work in collaboration with three ACWA members: Landus Cooperative, Nutrien Ag Solutions and NEW Cooperative as well as ISA. 

“This is a new approach to helping farmers and landowners with conservation,” said Roger Wolf, director of ISA Environmental Programs and Services and ACWA executive director. “Chance will focus on implementation of conservation practices like cover crops, precision nutrient management and controlled drainage. He’ll be working alongside the ag retailer agronomists in these locations to create a synergistic relationship that is good for farmers and farm productivity, while also building strong soils and improving the water.”

McDonald, who began his new position in early July, lives in Manning. He holds an agronomy degree from Iowa State University and is a Certified Crop Adviser. Previously, the Logan, Iowa, native was a field agronomist for Aspinwall Cooperative. 

“I’m excited about the opportunity to help with water quality improvement,” McDonald said. “Growing up around Iowa farming, I know how important agriculture is to this state. I want to do what I can to help farmers improve their operations and in an environmentally friendly way.”

McDonald said he looks forward to building new relationships with the retail agronomists in this new setting. He brings experience from agribusiness and understands the responsibilities of the retail agronomists. 

“I hope to become a valued partner with agronomists as we work together to help farmers improve their bottom line as well as the soil and water,” McDonald said. 

McDonald will rotate his time between the three ag retailers and their customers, working from their offices in and around the Farm to River Partnership watershed area.   

The Farm to River Partnership project is an expansion from the Elk Run watershed project completed in the spring of 2018. This new Iowa Water Quality Initiative (WQI) has a budget of $2.6 million, including partner contributions, over three years. The project promotes the adoption of conservation agriculture practices in four counties and five sub-watersheds within the North Raccoon river basin, including Elk Run. The project goals include the installation of 15 bioreactors, 15 saturated buffers, two targeted wetlands and 11,500 new acres of cover crops. For more information about the Farm to River Partnership visit the website.

Contact Chance at: cmcdonald@iasoybeans.com or via cell phone: 712-216-2045. 

Contact Carol Brown at cbrown@iasoybeans.com.

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For media inquiries, please contact Katie Johnson, ISA Public Relations Manager at kjohnson@iasoybeans.com or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at aputze@iasoybeans.com

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