The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is partnering with nine Midwest community colleges, including Northeast Iowa Community College, to support hands-on student learning about conservation and to foster conservation-minded farmers and ranchers. Members of the Community College Alliance for Agriculture Advancement (C2A3) held a virtual ceremony Monday to sign a national memorandum of understanding. Tracy Kruse, Chair of C2A3, says they provide more ongoing education, training, and demonstration projects for future farm producers and agricultural service providers. Kruse says she is excited about the new partnership to address regional and statewide challenges and to support student internships and other training opportunities for college faculty, producers, and NRCS employees. NCRS Acting Chief, Kevin Norton, says the partnership will help to accelerate training and adoption of technologies and best practices for improved agricultural productivity and natural resources stewardship. Norton says they are partnering with member institutions of the alliance to support hands-on student learning in the field, to develop future conservation-minded farmers and ranchers and to cultivate more graduates interested in pursuing careers with NRCS. NICC faculty and students are working with NRCS field office staff to implement a conservation plan, install practices on the ground, and help inform current and future producers. Research will include testing for soil health and the impact of crop rotations on healthy water, soil, and food sources.