Windbreak School

a group of people standing on the side of a gravel road and in a grassy area in front of a row of large trees watching two people speakWindbreak School is a half-day in-field program designed to empower farmers, rural landowners, and natural resource professionals to effectively plan, implement, maintain, and renovate highly functional and resilient windbreak resources.

Windbreak School participants will engage in four main topic areas:

  1. Design and mechanics
  2. Establishment and maintenance
  3. Renovation and recovery
  4. Planning, programs, and cost share

Why Windbreak School?

“Windbreaks and shelterbelts act as critical farm infrastructure – providing energy savings, livestock growth gains, timber and non-timber forest products, wildlife habitat, odor and dust control, aesthetics, privacy, and mental health benefits,” according to Billy Beck, Extension Forestry Specialist and assistant professor at Iowa State. “However, Iowa’s aging windbreaks are simply not functioning as they should be due to general decline, storm damage, and insect and disease issues."

Partners and Speakers

Windbreak School is a one-stop shop that allows participants to learn and network with all entities critical for windbreak planning, establishment, maintenance, and renovation. Speakers at each event include ISU Extension faculty and staff, ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic staff, IDNR District Foresters, Natural Resources Conservation Service staff, Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers staff, and Iowa farmers. 

two foresters speaking to each other outside on left side and another forester kneeling on grass and holding up a small containerized evergreen tree on the right side


Windbreak School is traditionally offered in late summer or early fall to allow participants adequate time to plan for spring windbreak implementation. Occasionally, indoor half-day programs are offered in winter. A condensed version of the program is frequently offered in lecture form at Crop Advantage Series events across Iowa each winter.

Check our Upcoming Events page regularly to find your local Windbreak School offering.

Primer Video and Resources

CropsTV Windbreak School video lecture (prime the pump here!)

Example flyer from previous Windbreak School offering

For inquiries on general program content and/or planning, please contact Billy Beck, ISU Extension Forestry Specialist (515-294-8837;