Nick Fetty | December 4, 2014
Water quality was a major focus at the annual Iowa Farm Bureau convention which took place in Des Moines this week.
The Iowa Farm Bureau Annual Meeting 2014: Seeds of Growth included two days of educational seminars, panel discussions, and a concert by country music artist and Iowa-native Jason Brown. Another highlight of the event was a keynote speech from British author and journalist Mark Lynas who has recently come out in support genetically-modified organisms or GMOs after previously opposing the controversial practice.
The convention – which took place Tuesday and Wednesday – came on the heels of a request from Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey for $7.5 million to go toward the Iowa Water Quality Initiative. Northey said the funding will be used over the next two years for a soil conservation cost share program.
To combat the issue of water pollution caused by nutrient runoff from crop fields, researchers at Iowa State University have recently been experimenting with using strips of prairie land to mitigate soil runoff. The researchers found that converting just 10 percent of cropland into prairie can reduce 95 percent of soil and sediment from running off. It also allows fields to retain 90 percent of phosphorus and 85 percent of nitrogen.
The Iowa Farm Bureau has been around since 1918 and is currently active in all 99 counties in Iowa.