Hailing from New Virginia, Iowa, Lance Henrichs is participating in the 2014 water resources summer internship program with Water Rocks!.
As I look through old photographs, almost every good memory I have is related to water somehow. Since I grew up on a farm, I learned to watch the weather very regularly sometimes begging for rain, sometimes begging for a break in the rain. So very often my friends and I would go out fishing, swimming, or boating on all the different lakes in southern or central Iowa. The house I grew up in was just up the hill from Squaw Creek. As a kid I spent many, many hours in that creek. Little did I know, a lake built from Squaw Creek was where all the drinking water in my town came from. During the wet years the creek became pretty dirty; I know now that it was full of sediment and I’m sure many types of bacteria and other things not visible by the naked eye.
Our farm was always a little different than some other farms around. Since I am from southern Iowa, we don’t have the nice flat land or smooth rolling hills like most of the state. We had hills and river bottoms. Some people just farmed those hills like you would farm a flat area. Each year they would fill in the washed out areas and I thought that was a little strange since that almost never happened on our farm. When I first started helping my dad on the farm, I hated terraces. I just never could figure out how he farmed around them and still managed to make straight rows. I couldn’t do it. The worst part was he kept having more built! Well when I learned what they were there to do, I decided I was okay with trying to learn to farm around them. My dad has always been good about keeping the water around us clean. Whether it be no tilling as much of our land as we can or leaving buffers along the streams on the bottom ground, the farming practices we use are the same things we are trying to teach people to use here at Water Rocks!
Since so much that I find fun is so directly related to water in Iowa, I want to make sure that what I am doing on the farm isn’t hurting those water bodies. I know I’m not the only person that enjoys the things I do, so I want to open the eyes of many more agricultural producers to see what they could do to help with some water quality issues. This internship has been that vessel to reach so many people and I hope that I have made at least some bit of impact.