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Iowa Learning Farms May Webinar Focuses On Source Water Protection

By Jamie Benning

The regular monthly Iowa Learning Farms webinar for May will be on Wednesday, May 20, at 1 p.m. This month’s guest speakers are Rebecca Ohrtman and Jamie Benning, who will talk about source water protection and local partnerships.

The webinar “Protecting Iowa’s Source Water through Local Partnerships” will explore what source water is, how it is supplied and monitored, and how landowners, farm operators, local organizations and agencies can work with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to improve and maintain the quality of their drinking water.

Since 2006, Becky Ohrtman has served as the Iowa DNR State Source Water Protection Program coordinator. She has been instrumental in development of the Source Water Protection Pilot Projects, advancing resources for source water protection through local, state and federal partnerships, conducting numerous source water workshops and conferences, as well as enhancing statewide source water protection education and outreach through many partnerships including colleges, ag retailers, conservation agencies and groups. Ohrtman received her Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from Iowa State University. Previously, she worked for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship as an area and regional watershed project coordinator overseeing 22 watershed projects.

Jamie Benning is the Water Quality Program manager with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates existing extension program activities related to water quality, connects with water researchers, and develops new programs to meet current and future needs. She also connects with external partners and stakeholders to support water quality improvement efforts throughout the state. Benning obtained a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and master’s degree in soil science, both from Iowa State. She has 13 years of experience in multi-disciplinary research and extension projects focusing on water quality, watershed management, farmer-leadership, soil quality and nutrient management.

The Iowa Learning Farms webinars are held on the third Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. They are free and all that is needed to participate is a computer with Internet access. To log in, go to at 1 p.m. on the afternoon of the webinar and log in through the guest option. Webinar participants will be able to converse with the presenters by typing their questions through the chat function. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for viewing at any time at

Since January 2011, ILF has hosted a webinar every month. There are more than 45 webinars to view on a wide range of topics including soil erosion, cover crops, buffers, bioreactors and farmer perspectives. The webinar archives also are available in podcast through iTunes.

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