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"Three major commodity groups in Iowa have joined forces to better engage farmers about the need to voluntarily reduce nutrient runoff in the state. The Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance was launched Monday at the Iowa State Capitol with state political leaders, which reflects some of the urgency to show reduction of nitrogen and phosphorus loads in Iowa waterways. After years of study and public comment, Iowa officials rolled out a nutrient reduction strategy in May 2013 that detailed a commitment to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways by 45%. Yet, farm groups felt the need to increase awareness of the nutrient reduction program and why it is being done. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Pork Producers Association each opted to spend money and commit to more aggressively educating farmers about nutrient problems and the farm practices that can reduce nutrient loss from farms. The alliance will be tasked with raising more awareness about the state's nutrient-reduction strategy as well as championing farm practices that reduce water and nutrient runoff from fields. The alliance also will work with federal and state agricultural officials on programs and funding efforts, as well as encouraging continued research activities at Iowa universities...Kirk Leeds, chief executive officer of the Iowa Soybean Association, will serve as chairman of the new alliance. Leeds said the alliance's goal is to stave off efforts to create a regulatory regime for fertilizer applications in the state. "The Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance was formed because we recognize that a simplistic regulatory scheme touted by some will not significantly improve water quality in this state, nor will another marketing-PR campaign touting the importance of agriculture," Leeds said. "Serious matters demand serious effort.""

Posted August 25th, 2014
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