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Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy

Iowa Corn supports a voluntary approach to water quality improvement. Regulation is not the answer. That’s why Iowa Corn supports the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which recognizes that water quality is a complex issue with many variables at work. Click here to see the latest summary of the progressing being made. 

This science- and technology-based plan outlines a pragmatic, voluntary approach for conserving the state’s rich soils and reducing nutrients to Iowa waters and the Gulf of Mexico. It is designed to direct efforts to reduce nutrients in surface water from both point and nonpoint sources in a scientific, reasonable and cost-effective manner.

Working together, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences developed this strategy.

Its development stems from the 2008 Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan that calls for Iowa and states along the Mississippi River to develop strategies to reduce nutrient loadings to the Gulf of Mexico, with a goal of at least a 45 percent reduction in total nitrogen and total phosphorus loads.

Effective practices farmers can implement as part of the strategy include:

  • Planting cover crops (31 percent nitrogen and 29 percent phosphorous reduction using rye)
  • Installing bioreactors (43 percent nitrogen reduction)
  • Using nitrogen inhibitors (9 percent nitrogen reduction)
  • Using conservation tillage and no-till (33 percent and 90 percent phosphorous reduction, respectively)
  • Restoring wetlands (52 percent nitrogen reduction)


The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is in early implementation stage and private support is critical to boost long-term investments and progress. Governor Branstad and the Iowa Legislature provided $9.6 million in 2015 to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.

For more information, please visit nutrientstrategy.iastate.edu/.

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