Spencer, IA: (Dec. 06, 2012) - On the sidelines of this week’s Iowa Farm Bureau Annual Meeting Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey said if the state is unable to significantly reduce runoff, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) might step in with mandates.
Environmentalists have pointed to Iowa farmers as a primary cause for poor water quality and a growing hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Lawsuits have been filed in an attempt to force the EPA to set stiff standards for nitrogen and phosphorus concentration in water bodies.
Ag Engineers at Iowa State University say the solution is more complicated than simply reducing the amount of fertilizer applied to farm ground. Much of the so-called “phosphorus-loading” comes from eroding stream embankments and soil erosion from fields. Northey agrees, saying, “Just reducing fertilizer isn’t going to be okay.”
Northey is optimistic, though, that Iowa farmers can lead the way in cleaning up state waters.
IDALS partnered with the Iowa DNR and Iowa State University Ag Engineers to come up with the Nutrient Reduction Study. Comments on the plan are being solicited until January 4th. It can be found online at www.nutrientstrategy.iastate.edu.