Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says the state’s new Nutrient Reduction Strategy, released Monday, outlines “meaningful” steps that will improve water quality in Iowa and downstream.
“This is not about rules and regulations,” Northey says. “This is about giving farmers resources to help them voluntarily improve water quality.”
John Lawrence, director of Iowa State University Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension, says there is “no one silver bullet” to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous runoff into rivers and streams.
“It’s going to take a combination of practices—and the good news it’s a relatively short list of practices that are truly effective in reaching those goals,” Lawrence says. “But it will take a relatively high adoption rate and it will take time to get those practices and investments in place.”
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad stresses the voluntary nature of the plan.
“Remember why Iowa is so much healthier and stronger than a lot of other states,” Branstad says. “It’s because of the health and prosperity of agriculture—and we don’t want to destroy the opportunity for farmers to make a living on the land.”
There’s a 45-day period for Iowans to submit comments about the plan. Details of the plan can be found here.
Radio Iowa contributed to this story.