800px-Iowa_harvest_2009We all should be thankful for the fruitful land that we live on here in Iowa. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and has kept our economy strong. The livelihood of Iowa farmers depends on responsible land stewardship, and Iowa has excellent practices in place to ensure we retain soil nutrients and protect waterways. These practices allow Iowans greater control over land issues like nutrient reduction, and discourage the federal government from coming into the state and overregulating our businesses and agricultural practices. Iowa’s agriculture-driven economy will continue to thrive as we develop innovative solutions to deal with our problems.

In 2011, the Watershed Task Force called upon the 12 states along the Mississippi River to develop their own nutrient reduction strategy. Working together, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences developed a proposed strategy.

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a science and technology-based framework that was designed to assess and reduce nutrients in Iowa waters and the Gulf of Mexico. It involves reducing both nitrogen & phosphorus loading to the Gulf of Mexico by 45 percent following the recommended framework provided by the Environmental Protection Agency. The strategy encourages voluntary efforts to reduce nutrients in surface water from both point and nonpoint sources in a scientific, reasonable, and cost-effective manner.

Iowa’s nutrient reduction strategy is the first time an integrated approach involving both point and nonpoint sources has been attempted, and Iowa is only the second state to complete a statewide nutrient reduction strategy. Iowa’s commitment to responsible land stewardship and original responses to problems will keep Iowa’s economy strong.

Photo Credit: Bill Whittaker (CC By-SA 3.0)

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