One of the biggest expenses for Iowa farmers is the fertilizer they apply to their cropland. And
sometimes, that fertilizer barely stays put before heavy rains, like we had this weekend, wash it into rivers and downstream to the Mississippi River. It ends up in the Gulf of Mexico, where it collects and kills aquatic life. Farmers like Mark Peterson, who farms near Stanton, are taking steps to keep fertilizer on the farm by using cover crops and bumper strips. Peterson says this makes him a friend of Gulf fishermen.
Peterson says Iowa farmers need to take steps to keep what is applied to Iowa cropland, on Iowa cropland – making it less likely the government will step in and require it.
Peterson says putting in cover crops stops erosion, lowers input costs and saves the fishing
industry in portions of the Gulf of Mexico. Locally, it also reduces the nitrates that are overwhelming some city water departments, trying to remove them from drinking water. He says upcoming field days sponsored by the Practical Farmers of Iowa will give farmers a chance to share solutions to the problem.