The 2022 International Drainage Symposium will highligh

The 2022 International Drainage Symposium will highlight drainage research, practice design, implementation and policy. (Photo: Iowa Soybean Association).

2022 International Drainage Symposium

August 24, 2022 | Kriss Nelson

Challenges facing agricultural drainage and what opportunities can be considered to help tackle those issues will be the focus of the 11th International Drainage Symposium, Aug. 30-Sept. 2.

Chris Hay, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) senior research scientist, is co-chair of the symposium with Matt Helmers, dean’s professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. The conference will be held at the Marriot Des Moines Downtown in Des Moines and will feature two days of sessions highlighting drainage research, practice design, implementation and policy.

The third day of the event will feature tours highlighting work ISA has been involved in and other drainage work happening in Iowa.

Hay says 12 countries will be represented at the International Drainage Symposium, bringing a mix of academic, state and federal staff, design engineers, drainage industry and non-profit conservation groups.

“The latest work and ideas on drainage research and drainage project implementation will be discussed, focusing on balancing maximizing crop production with meeting desired environmental outcomes,” says Hay.

“Change” is the theme for the conference.

“We will discuss advancing drainage to meet changing physical, social, economic and policy climates,” says Hay.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Rob Burtonshaw, a drainage contractor with Farm Services, Ltd. from England. As a previous Nuffield Scholar recipient, Burtonsaw will share his experiences of touring the world, learning about drainage, and what has been done in England to advance drainage systems.
  • Charolette Kjaergaard, with NovaDraiN ApS of Denmark, an advisor in developing Denmark’s national strategy on drainage and water quality, will share their approach to meeting water quality goals and the work she is doing with research pertaining to edge-of-field practices.
  • Chandra Madramootoo with McGill University in Quebec, a recipient of the World Irrigation and Drainage Prize of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, will share his vision of the future of drainage based on his experiences working with drainage worldwide.

For Hay, helping co-chair the International Drainage Symposium and attending the event allows him to keep up-to-date on the latest drainage research and implementation.

“It’s a chance to share information across different states and countries,” he says. “We are all dealing with the same or similar problems. This is a great chance to share ideas on what has worked, what hasn’t, and what we can do better. I can bring this back to ISA as well as show all the great work we have going on in Iowa.”

For more information on conservation drainage practices that will be discussed at the symposium, visit