Farm Groups Defend Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Plan

Iowa Farm Scene

Criticism of voluntary farmer-led conservation practices is ill-timed and isn't productive, say Iowa farm leaders.

Published on: May 27, 2013

Iowa farmers and their organization leaders are concerned in particular by recent statements made by Bill Stowe, manager of the Des Moines Waterworks, in response to activation of the waterworks' nitrate removal facility.

Criticism of voluntary, farmer-led soil and water conservation practices and the performance of a state nutrient reduction strategy not yet funded or implemented that accompanied activation of the nitrate reduction facility at the Des Moines Water Work such criticism is ill-timed, says Mark Jackson, a farmer from Rose Hill who is president of the Iowa Soybean Association. Absent of appropriate context and dialogue, the critics of the voluntary nutrient reduction plan have the potential to be divisive at a time when working collaboratively on such complex and important issues has never been more important.

The Iowa Soybean Association, in partnership with Agriculture's Clean Water Alliance and the Iowa Corn Growers Association, issued a statement saying they believe there's a better approach: one nurtured through open dialogue and strong partnerships.

An open discussion on water quality issues will be held June 27, and the Des Moines Waterworks general manager has accepted an invitation to attend

Last week the ISA, ACWA and ICGA formally invited Des Moines Water Works general manager Bill Stowe to participate in an open dialogue with farmers and ag stakeholders on water quality issues at the June 27 ACWA board meeting to be held in Ames. Stowe has accepted the invitation to attend.

"We are pleased that Bill has accepted this invitation and we look forward to welcoming him at our meeting," says Harry Ahrenholtz, ACWA president. "It illustrates genuine interest in discussing this important issue with our partners, members and farmers."

An invitation was also extended to the Des Moines Register editorial board to participate in a comprehensive discussion about water quality and watershed management issues.