Field day at Tesdell Century Farm will explore role of landowners in on-farm conservation – July 13, near Slater

For Release: June 29, 2016

SLATER, Iowa — When farmland owner Lee Tesdell started working with his tenant-farmers, neighbors Michael and Charles Helland, he felt the relationship was a natural fit: Not only are the Hellands open-minded about trying on-farm conservation practices, Lee says he and the Hellands actively collaborate on management, cost-sharing and learning.

“That kind of landlord-tenant relationship is critical when it comes to conservation practices,” says Lee, who owns Tesdell Century Farm near Slater. “If the landowner and land operator aren’t on the same page with conservation, it’s not going to work.”

Lee will share his experience with building an effective landowner-tenant relationship at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day he is hosting on Wednesday, July 13, from 5-8 p.m., near Slater (300 NW 158th Ave., a few miles southeast of town). The event – “Conservation Practices on a Century Farm” – is being held in partnership with the Central Iowa Watershed Management Authority Water Quality Initiative Project. It is free to attend and will include a meal (using some local ingredients) catered by Victor’s Mexican Restaurant in Huxley. RSVPs are requested for the meal. Please contact Lauren Zastrow, or (515) 232-5661, by Friday, July 8.

The field day is sponsored by Grassland Oregon, Heartland Co-op, HTS Ag, Iowa Energy Alternatives and Prudenterra.

Attendees will learn how Lee and the Hellands work together to address soil conservation and water quality issues by implementing cover crops, no-till, buffers and other practices – including edge-of-field practices for soil and nutrient conservation, and a woodchip bio-reactor. Guests will learn about each of those conservation practices, as well as the role of an effective landowner-tenant relationship in advancing land stewardship goals. Lee also has a photovoltaic solar array installed on his property and will share details on that system.

Speakers will include Michael and Charles Helland; Adam Kiel and Keegan Kult, with Iowa Soybean Association; Paul Miller, with Natural Resources Conservation Service; Amanda Brown, with Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District; and Todd Hammen, with Iowa Energy Alternatives.

Tesdell Century Farm has been in the family since 1884. The Hellands raise row crops on 60 acres. Lee raises 5 acres of sheep hay, and the rest of the farm consists of buffers along Alleman Creek (Four Mile Creek watershed) and a waterway.

Directions from the north on I-35: Take exit 102 and turn right (west) onto IA Hwy 210. After 1.5 miles, turn left (south) onto U.S. 69. After 2 miles, turn right (west) onto NE 158th Avenue; drive 1.1 miles and look for the stucco house with white buildings. From the south on I-35: Take exit 96 and turn left (west) onto NE 126th Avenue. Drive 1.5 miles to U.S. 69 / Ankeny Boulevard; turn right (north). Drive 4 miles north and turn left (west) onto NE 158th Avenue. Drive 1.1 miles and look for the stucco house with white buildings.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2016 field day season features 25 events around Iowa. All field days feature farmer-led discussions and farm or field tours. Details are in Practical Farmers’ “2016 Field Day Guide,” available at, or for free in print. To request a guide by mail, call the PFI office at (515) 232-5661.

Practical Farmers’ 2016 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Organic & Natural Meats; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); Iowa Cover Crop; Iowa Environmental Council; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; ISU Extension and Outreach; ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Defense Council; North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; RIMOL Greenhouse Systems; Riverside Feeds, LLC; Soil First; The Yield Lab; Trees Forever; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; Welter Seed & Honey Co.; and Willcross Soybeans.


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit


Lee Tesdell | Tesdell Century Farm | (515) 201-6454 |

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |