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Audio: Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy Released

Spreading manure can build up nitrogen for next year’s crop, but it isn’t guaranteed to all stay in the soil. When that happens, not only is it bad for the environment, but it also costs you money.
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On Monday the Iowa Department of Agriculture, DNR, and Iowa State University announced the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which is available for public comment here.

The 197-page report is the fruit of two years’ work between the three agencies in an effort to respond to the 2008 Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan, part of which required the 12 states adjacent to the Mississippi River to develop plans to reduce nutrient loading into the Gulf of Mexico. Using data from Iowa State scientists, IDALS, DNR, USDA’s Agricultural Resource Service, and USDA NRCS, the strategy follows a framework laid down by EPA in 2011. Monday’s announcement makes Iowa the 2nd state to have completed a statewide nutrient reduction strategy.

Contained in the report is a list of voluntary strategies for producers to utilize in reducing their nutrient loads: those who worked on the strategy, like Iowa State University College of Ag and Life Science Extension and Outreach Associate Dean Dr. John Lawrence, point out that the report is not a regulatory effort.

In fact, Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey says one reason Iowa completed the report was to avoid a regulatory approach.

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy’s end goal is a 16% reduction in point source phosphorus levels and a 4% drop in point source nitrogen levels. Overall the goal is a 45% reduction in total nitrogen and phosphorus loads into the Mississippi River.

The comment period closes on January 4, 2013.