ACWA member Heartland Co-op serves farmers in 70 locations across Iowa, Nebraska, and Texas. The company is a founding member of ACWA and has helped the organization become the leader in water quality that it is today.
Heartland Co-op was established in 1987 through a merger of cooperatives in Panora, Dallas Center, Minburn and Granger. Its origins are truly centered in Iowa’s heartland, amid the Raccoon and Des Moines river watersheds, a primary focus of ACWA. With Heartland’s key locations across the state, the co-op is vital to ACWA’s statewide expansion.
Heartland Co-op became part of ACWA because they recognized that farming practices influence water quality. The company leaders believed it was important to form a network of ag retailers that collectively could research problems and solutions, address the adverse effects and promote the adoption of profitable conservation solutions.
Also, being part of ACWA has helped Heartland Co-op confirm the need for ag retail involvement in agricultural conservation. The company is one of the first Iowa co-ops to establish a conservation department, with a conservation agronomy team created to serve its members. The team comprises three conservation agronomists and three precision GIS specialists spread across western, central and eastern Iowa. These folks support Heartland’s sales staff by consulting farmers on the precision nutrient application; and no-till, strip-till, and cover crop adoption. They also work with environmental experts to install edge-of-field practices and targeted wetlands, as well as restorations of prairies and river oxbows.
The Heartland Co-op conservation department is able to serve members through the support of ACWA and other organizations, including Practical Farmers of Iowa, the Iowa Soybean Association, and the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
Heartland Co-op leaders believe investing time and dollars with ACWA is important as water quality affects everyone. Through ACWA’s collaborative efforts, water quality improvement solutions can be found that positively impact farmers, ag retailers, public partners and Iowa citizens.