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Iowa helps save the Gulf

By Staff | Nov 13, 2008

The Gulf of Mexico is far from Iowa’s productive farmlands, but agriculture in the Hawkeye State can have a huge impact on this important body of water. Environmentally sound practices here can help prevent nutrients used in farming from traversing the rivers and waterways to wind up as unwelcome and damaging additions to the Gulf.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Farm Service Agency and the Iowa Farm Bureau have worked closely to assist farmers in reducing nitrates and phosphorous nutrients in the Gulf of Mexico. The good news is that those efforts are succeeding.

The collaboration has been recognized by the Gulf of Mexico Program, a nonregulatory partnership formed in 1988 by the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency to provide a broad geographic focus on the Gulf’s major environmental issues. The three Iowa entities were selected to receive a third place Gulf Guardian Award in the Partnership category. An awards ceremony took place Oct. 29 in New Orleans.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, who represented his department at the celebratory session in Louisiana, said real headway is being made in cleaning up the environment.

“The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, or CREP, was designed specifically to reduce the nutrients from leaving Iowa and having an impact down stream,” Northey said. “Clearly there is more work to be done, but we are making progress. Iowa farmers are committed to protecting the air, soil and water that have made our state so productive.”

Keeping the world we inhabit as pristine as possible is a worthy goal. Farm News congratulates the Iowa Department of Agriculture, IFSA and Iowa Farm Bureau on the superb work that resulted in a Gulf Guardian Award.

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