Governor Terry Branstad has proclaimed this week as Soil and Water Conservation Week. This week recognizes Iowa’s agricultural nature and the quality of life that is enjoyed due to the proper use of soil and water. It is held in conjunction with national Stewardship Week whose theme this year is “Soil to Spoon.” Since the first efforts started after the severe erosion of the 1930’s Dust Bowl, laws have been passed to preserve soil and water, protect the state’s tax base and promote health, safety and public welfare. Iowa is now a national leader in the implementation of water quality and watershed projects, soil conservation and buffer programs. The buffer initiative has more than 600,000 acres and 60 active watershed and quality projects as well as many urban conservation programs. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey believes that the state has come a long way in its effort but there is still work to do. If Iowans work together, the state will continue to be a leader.