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(Article Summarized by Meridian Institute) A coalition of advocacy groups, scientists, and others is visiting federal agencies and Congress this week in an effort to promote curbing agricultural water pollution. Eric Davidson, the president of the Biogeosciences Section of the American Geophysical Union and a coalition member, said, "Providing food security without polluting the environment is a huge challenge. We made progress in some regards. Agriculture in the U.S. is becoming more efficient, and yet the problem in the Chesapeake and the Gulf, those problems are not going away." The coalition met last summer to explore barriers to increasing nitrogen efficiency in agriculture. They found that while farmers have a wide array of technologies available to increase nitrogen efficiency, farmers perceive a financial risk in applying less nutrients. The coalition plans to present these findings to the agencies and push for a new agricultural research foundation to focus on nutrient management. "Our mission is not to advocate for any particular regulatory approach. We're just advocating that they be engaged and build trust and work with ag extension to try to find solutions," Davidson said. "I think that they are recognizing that command and control from Washington is going to be met with a lot of resistance. We're looking for ways to be effective at the local level." The goal, added Davidson, is to keep the conversation on nutrient management alive in Washington.

Posted March 6th, 2014