College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Helmers: Keeping nitrates on the farm

Helmers: Iowa has the methods to do it; but it will take public funds

Dr. Matt Helmers, an Iowa State University agriculture and biosystems engineering professor, spoke with members of the ag committee of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance Feb. 4, outlining the challenges of farming’s impact of grain farming on water quality and land management practices designed to keep nutrients in the field.

Cover crops, reduced tillage, controlled drainage and edge-of-field practices are all designed to help Iowa meet its obligations of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy – reducing by 45 percent the nutrient load in waters that leave Iowa and flow to the Gulf.

The practices are diverse, Helmers said, but the process of implementing them are complicated, namely in funding new land management practices, as well as changing the mindset of farm families, many of whom have been farming conventionally for decades.

For the original story by Farm News, click here.