After months of research and revisions, the revised Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy has been released. The aim of the strategy is to reduce the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous from both agricultural and non-ag sources. Runoff of these nutrients have resulted in algae blooms, eutrification and a host of water quality problems.
All of the states that border the Mississippi River have been asked by the EPA to devise a nutrient reduction strategy, raising concerns among growers that regulators might one day use the strategy to step in and override individual on-farm practices in favor of mandated rules. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey believes a dedicated voluntary effort can keep regulations at bay. But the strategy is not just aimed at farm runoff, and recent updates to the strategy have made room for more cooperation.
Secretary Northey told me via email, "The updated Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy does a better job highlighting the importance of collaboration between point and nonpoint sources as we seek to achieve the aggressive nitrogen and phosphorus reduction goals. I believe going through this process, including the public comments, helped those of us in agriculture see we need to partner and work with point sources such as cities and businesses as we all seek to better protect the water quality in our state."
A lot has been learned so far and while no specific practices have yet been recommended, drafters of the strategy constructed it in such a way as to leave room for the great variety in farming methods across the state. The hope is for growers to make the adjustments needed to their own farm practices, demonstrating a voluntary effort.
View Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy here...
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