Making Cover Crops Work: From Popcorn to Water Quality

Tuesday, Aug. 23 | 10 a.m. – Noon

Host: Mark Schleisman & Family

M&M Farms |

Address: 1532 365th St. | Lake City, IA 51449

Mark SchleismanTen years ago, Mark Schleisman, of M&M Farms, returned full-time to his family’s farm near Lake City, Iowa, after a career with Conagra. Mark farms with his sons, Matthew and Landon, daughter Brandy and her husband Colby. Mark’s father, Larry, and uncles Jerry and Jim, provide extra help during planting, spraying and harvest. M&M Farms is a 5,000-acre diversified operation that includes corn, soybeans, popcorn, hogs and a cow-calf operation, custom farming and custom cover crop seeding.

Mark plants cover crops on all 5,000 of the farm’s acres and grazes cows there every spring and fall. He also uses conservation methods like no-till and strip-till, grassed waterways, buffer strips, wildlife habitat and bioreactors in addition to cover crops – practices that are all aimed at preserving water quality. Located in the North Raccoon River Watershed, Mark sees cover crops and his constructed wetland-water reuse project, which treats tile drainage, as vital pieces of his effort to protect water quality and absorb nutrients from his hog operation.

Join Mark at this field day to see conservation practices at the farm scale and learn about his ongoing water quality projects, how he integrates cover crops with his popcorn business and more.


  • Matt Helmers – Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, ISU
  • Shane Wulf – Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship


See & Discuss: 

  • Popcorn + cover crops
  • Cover crop seeding methods
  • Cover crop equipment
  • Popcorn production
  • A water reuse project
  • Constructed wetlands for capturing tile water
  • Water quality

Meal Information: Light refreshments will be provided at the start of the field day.

Location Notes: We will plan to start the field day looking at the cover crop seeding equipment in the yard at 1532 365th Street.

The farm is located 3.5 miles east of Auburn, Iowa or 4.5 miles west of Lake City, Iowa on Highway 175 and is located on the south side of the highway.

RSVPs are appreciated by Aug. 18


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