Here we go again. A portion of our annual 14,770,450,000 barrels of topsoil being permanently transported out of Iowa to the Gulf….and that’s a conservative amount based on the “acceptable” USDA average soil loss rate of 5 tons/acre. It’s actually closer to 3-4 times that rate in many parts of the state.
To me, this is one of the biggest issues and challenges facing our state for a number of reasons, namely because it is by far our most valuable natural resource for the long-term wellbeing of both the people and the diversity of the landscape itself. Every other issue centers around the sustainable productivity and wise use of the land. It belongs to future generations as well.
There are numerous proven ways to solve this problem if we did not wrap up misinformation and short-term economics into the solution. Water quality and flooding go hand in hand and are caused by the same factors.
There is nothing we can do about the rain…what we can do is work together to fund, educate, promote, and integrate known conservation practices that slow the water down and allow it to infiltrate rather than rapidly run off the land and carry away our future once it hits the ground. Long term, we need to diversify opportunities in agriculture beyond just corn-soybeans-and traditional livestock if we ever want to bring more young people and families back to our farms, schools, and rural communities….that’s the long-term solution to both water quality and flooding, as well as sustainable rural economics. One step in the right direction would be to bring back and fund the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, which was eliminated during the Branstad/KimReynolds administration. Another step would be to fund the Natural Resource & Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that was overwhelmingly passed by Iowa Voters in 2010, but was never funded.
The definition of INSANITY is repeating the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
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