land use

Amy Mayer / IPR

In an annual survey, Iowa State University economists found the age of farmland owners continues to climb, and with that the number of acres owned debt-free also has increased.

About a third of the land is owned by people who are at least 75 years old and 82 percent of land is owned debt-free.  Typically, the older the landowner, the lower the debt load.

Amy Mayer / IPR

Big cities in the Midwest are gaining ground on the rural communities that, for many decades, have thrived on the edges of urban development.

Since 1980, the amount of land being farmed or grazed in the U.S. has dropped 13 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Much of it now flaunts housing subdivisions, big-box stores and computer-server farms.

Outward growth from metropolitan areas can strain courts, schools and traffic. It also can change the cultural and regional identity of once-rural communities — something visible on the outskirts of two metro areas connected by Interstate 35 and an agricultural heritage: Des Moines, Iowa, and Kansas City, Missouri.

Lynn Betts / USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Iowa’s newest land trust aims to connect young farmers looking for land with farmers looking to retire.

Rich Egger for Harveset Public Media

Land in Fulton County, Ill., that was farmed for more than 80 years is being returned to its original wetland state – and the early results are promising for what is now the Emiquon Nature Preserve.

“People give us credit for the way this looks now but it’s really Mother Nature that makes it look the way it does,” said Doug Blodgett, director of river conservation for the environmental group the Nature Conservancy.

Courtesty of Siobhan Spain

When Siobhan Spain and her family deconstructed an old barn on their family farm a few years ago, she re-used the barn wood instead of sending it to the landfill. 

Wikimedia Commons

In rural Iowa, it feels like there’s plenty of room, but the land that makes up that seemingly endless wide open space is very much in demand.

Emily Woodbury

Iowa is the second most privately owned state in the U.S., so land preserved on its public parks is particularly special. Today on River to River –  the future of Iowa’s parks.

Going Going Gone

Jul 30, 2013
Courtesy photo

A new report out Tuesday shows millions of wetland acres and highly erodible grassland and prairie are being plowed under and planted into row crops. This in turn causes intense soil erosion especially in a wet spring like this year. The four year, multi state study was conducted by Environmental Working Group. http://www.ewg.org/research/going-going-gone.

fiat luxe / flickr

They excel at swimming, holding their breath and have coats that humans envy. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe sits down with Iowa State wildlife biologist, Jim Pease, to discuss the mammals of Iowa's wetlands. They talk about river otters, muskrats, beaver and mink, and share some tips on how to spy some of these fascinating swimmers.

Julie Malake 2012

In 1998 the Environmental Protection Agency declared Nahant Marsh near Davenport a Superfund site. Fifteen years later the marsh is a beautiful, thriving wetland that attracts wildlife and visitors.  Charity Nebbe, talks with guests about the history and resurrection of Nahant Marsh and the challenges facing wetlands across the state of Iowa.

josquin2000 / Flickr

Iowa is not known for its wild places, only one state in the nation has a smaller percentage of public land than we do. Members from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Iowa Nature Conservancy and Iowa DNR join host Charity Nebbe to discuss what work is being done by conservation organizations in Iowa to preserve our wild places and to create new ones.