Conservation Measures Implemented by Farmers Reduces Runoff

Christopher Doering reported in today’s Des Moines Register that, “Conservation measures by farmers have reduced nitrogen and phosphorus runoff in Iowa and other states in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, according to a federal government study released this week.

“Using existing water quality data, researchers at the Agriculture Department and the U.S. Geological Survey determined voluntary agricultural conservation practices helped reduce nitrogen downstream in the Upper Mississippi River Basin watershed by as much as 34 percent. The impact on phosphorus reduction was less promising, with reductions topping out at 10 percent. Iowa is part of the Upper Mississippi and Missouri river basins.”

The Register article noted that, “[U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack] said he hopes that as lawmakers work on the budget and begin discussions about the next farm bill, the government’s report ‘would certainly emphasize the need for continued investment and continued support for conservation.’ He said conservation can be successful by providing incentives to farms rather than requiring change through regulation.”

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