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Corn Farmers Disappointed in Water Works Lawsuit

March 11, 2015

The Des Moines Water Works has elected to pursue expensive and unproductive litigation against farmers and their drainage districts more than 100 miles from Des Moines. Iowa corn farmers are very disappointed in this shift away from a collaborative, results-oriented model that has been the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) gold standard for improving water quality. This litigation will cause scarce resources to be reallocated away from current projects without any guarantee of improving our waters.

Iowa’s climate and rich soils are the main factors in the nutrient fluctuations in our rivers. “Farms and growing seasons are certainly not all alike,” said Jerry Mohr, a farmer from Eldridge and president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA). “By embracing the best science and relying on years of experience, each farmer adds to the collaboration that results in measurable benefits to Iowa’s water.” The Des Moines Water Works lawsuit implies an unrealistic ‘one size fits all’ legal solution will improve water quality.

“Iowa farmers are very aware of the role they play in our state’s quality of life. Working together has, and always will be, the best way to achieve long-term solutions.” explained Mohr. Farmers are focused on continuous conservation improvements to mitigate the unpredictability of weather. Iowa Corn has partnered with farmers and agricultural stakeholders in the following projects targeted at improving water quality for all Iowans:

  • Invested in research for a nitrogen use efficiency trait for corn. This allows more bushels of corn to be grown with the same amount of nitrogen fertilizer which has potential water quality benefits.
  • Partnered with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and funded research at Iowa State University to document the effectiveness of in-field and edge-of-field nutrient management practices.
  • Provided research dollars to the Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council, which is enhancing the role of ag retailers and crop advisors to accelerate the adoption of on-farm water quality practices.
  • Established the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance and invested dollars to advance the nutrient reduction strategy, promote adoption of conservation practices, and support research and credible data to show progress.
  • Supported the National Corn Growers Association’s Soil Health Partnership, which has established a network of demonstration farms to evaluate the economic and environmental benefits of soil health practices.

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is an 8,000-member strong grassroots-driven organization, headquartered in Johnston, Iowa, serving members across the state, and lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its farmer members to create opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. For more information, visit iowacorn.org.

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