USDA says farmers have
helped cut nitrogen runoff in Iowa and Mississippi River Basin by up to 34%.
Published on: June
Soil conservation and water quality
improvement practices by farmers have reduced nitrogen and phosphorus runoff in
Iowa and other states in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, according to a
federal study released last week. Several farmers I visited with at the Farm
Progress Hay Expo at Boone June 22-23 were talking about this topic. We
discussed the voluntary vs. regulatory issue, as more farmers and landowners
need to be putting water quality improvement practices on their land.
Farmers are reducing nitrogen, phosphorus pollution
Based on current water quality data,
researchers at USDA and the U.S. Geological Survey determined that voluntary
agricultural conservation practices are helping reduce nitrogen downstream in
the Upper Mississippi River Basin watershed by as much as 34%. The impact on
phosphorus reduction wasn’t as much, with reductions topping out at 10%. Iowa
is part of the Upper Mississippi River and the Missouri River basins.
Until this study, nutrient
reductions have been difficult to detect in streams because changes in multiple
sources of nutrients (including non-ag sources) and natural processes can have
confounding influences that conceal the effects of improved farming practices
on downstream water quality. The models used......(To read more, click the link