Conservation measures taken by farmers have long worked to help stop soil erosion, but these days, those practices might also help reduce crop loss caused by drought in the coming year.

Wade Dooley farms more than 1200 acres near Des Moines, and says leaving organic material behind keeps the soil and what little water is available in place.

"A lot of no-till on most of our ground; that helps that at least hold the organic matter that we've got. And then we do cover crops; we use winter wheat and we also use rye."

He says the ability to seal in precious moisture varies depending on the type of soil, so every farmer has to determine the best use of cover crops.

"It doesn't boost itself real fast on its own, so you have to be really good at managing your soils and managing your system to fit the land you've got."

Some soil experts say a 2 percent increase in organic matter is worth between $40 and $50 per acre in reduced input costs and greatly increase soil water-holding capacity in the spring.