A new study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that farm conservation practices in some parts of the Midwest have reduced farm pollution by 5-to-34 percent. Yet researchers are measuring near-record concentrations of farm pollution flowing down the Mississippi River this year.
Manure pits that hold livestock and poultry waste give off foul-smelling toxic air pollutants that can be deadly to farmworkers and local residents, who often are powerless to defend the health of their families from the noxious emissions.Read More
Would you eat food grown with wastewater from oil and gas drilling? You could be already: farms in California's Central Valley, which produces 40 percent of the nation's fruits and vegetables, are allowed to use oil and gas wastewater to irrigate crops.
A news investigation last week reaffirmed that nitrate levels in the Des Moines River watershed exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water limit, posing a threat to infants, pregnant women and others for whom excessive nitrate can be a health hazard.
We need a consistent approach to agricultural conservation.Driving around central Iowa on a crop survey this spring, EWG analysts came across a far-too-common scene: adjacent fields reflecting disparate responses to the problem of agricultural runoff. EWG’s report, “Fooling Ourselves,” showed that voluntary programs to encourage planting of protective vegetation along vulnerable waterways were not achieving lasting results.
As summer approaches, so do the toxic algal blooms that plague Lake Erie every year, killing fish and making the water too dangerous to swim in.
Pollution in Minnesota’s drinking water has gotten worse in recent years, but no one wants to call out the industry responsible. It’s been the primary source of water pollution for decades, making water in some areas of the country dangerous to drink and costing local taxpayers millions of dollars to clean it up.
Recently, spring weather in upper Midwest has been warmer and dryer, leading farmers in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota to plant corn in early April. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Crop Progress Report, since 2013 there's been a big rise in corn planted by mid-April, the earliest farmers in the region can plant and be eligible for federally subsidized crop insurance.
Drinking water, lakes and rivers in Iowa and across the Corn Belt are in serious trouble because of polluted farm runoff. To tackle the problem, for decades we’ve taken the approach favored by agricultural interests – making federal tax dollars available for conservation practices that curb runoff, encouraging farmers to adopt those practices, then hoping enough of them volunteer to do the right thing.
Clean water is vital to sustaining life. Why aren’t we protecting it?
A new law requiring grass “buffers” to be planted between cropland and Minnesota’s rivers and streams is an innovative and important step toward cutting pollution from farm operations, EWG said today.Read More
Nitrogen from fertilizers and manures washed off farmland costs Americans $157 billion a year in damages to human health and the environment.
Last week, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released the alarming results of a study of waterways in the southwest corner of the state, reporting that only three of 93 segments it assessed was “fully supporting of aquatic life” and only one was “fully supporting of aquatic recreation.”
A study of five representative Iowa counties shows that requiring simple buffer zones between crop fields and streams could get two-thirds of the way to the state's goal for reducing phosphorus pollution and one-fifth of the way to the nitrogen pollution target, while affecting only a tiny proportion of landowners and a vanishingly small percentage of row-crop acreage.Read More
Requiring farmers to plant 50-foot wide grass strips, or buffers, between cropland and streams would jumpstart progress toward cleaning Iowa’s dirty water while affecting only a handful of growers and a minuscule number of acres, a new report from Environmental Working Group shows.Read More