Des Moines, Iowa – January 27, 2020– Iowa’s rich soil makes the state a leader in agricultural production. Soil health is a key factor in that productivity. Now teachers and other educators can learn about soil biology and how science can help manage soil health through a new graduate course offered by the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.

The online course will offer two graduate credits from Drake University, Morningside College, Grand View University, or Viterbo University through AEA PD Online. The course, The Biology of Soil, will begin March 2, 2020 and run through May 3, 2020. It will train teachers to apply STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts in their classrooms. The course is targeted toward middle and high school science teachers and agriculture teachers, but is open all teachers interested in the subject or interested in expanding their science base. The course is also being offered for teacher license renewal credit.

“Soil health is a complicated topic. Teachers will learn how soil affects nutrient cycling and how landowners can implement practices to improve the soil microbiome,” said course instructor, Will Fett. “Iowa is a leader in growing crops like corn and soybeans and to continue with that success means protecting our soil resources.”

The course is based on soil health and agriculture lessons that were developed through a partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Conservation Districts of Iowa. The course is being supported in part by Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP CEP). The lessons were aligned to the Iowa Core Science Standards as well as the National Agriculture Literacy Outcomes. The course will address soil health, soil behaviors, issues of soil degradation, plants in soil, organic matter in soil, invertebrates, fungi, bacteria, the soil biome, the history of soils, the future of soils, and careers in soil science.

Educators interested in signing up for the class can find the registration information in the AEA Professional Learning Registration System. Space is limited to the first 20 registrations. To learn more visit and direct questions to or call 515-331-4182.

About the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

IALF serves as a central resource for educators and volunteers who want to teach Iowa’s students about agriculture.  The mission is to educate Iowans, with a focus on youth, regarding the breadth and global significance of agriculture.  Iowa is a leading producer of agricultural products that are essential to feed a growing world population, estimated to reach more than 9 billion by 2050.  IALF believes it is important for all Iowans to understand the essential role agriculture has in their lives.  IALF will support existing agriculture education efforts such as FFA, 4-H and Ag in the Classroom.  IALF was created through a joint effort of agricultural stakeholders, including the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Silos and Smokestacks Foundation, Corteva Agriscience, GROWMARK, and the Iowa Beef Industry Council.  For more information visit IALF online at, on Facebook, and Twitter.