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Senior Contributor

Letter to the editor: Voluntary efforts by farmers not working

Below is a Letter to the Editor of the largest paper in Iowa. Seems almost weekly they have articles picking on farmers. This is getting very old and these type of articles are giving the non-farmers in Iowa a very bad opinion of farmers.. Letter is below:



Letter to the editor: Voluntary efforts by farmers not working


The Register’s Perry Beeman reported that Des Moines Water Works customers have to pay $7,000 a day to remove excess nitrates from the water taken from the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers [“Nitrates in Rivers Hit Record Levels,” May 11].

Forty-five volunteers participated in a Polk County water quality “snapshot” on May 8. Experienced volunteers were shocked by the high levels on nitrates they found in the streams in Polk County. Over half of the test sites reported nitrate levels of 20 milligrams per liter or more. These are the highest nitrate levels we have seen in the 10 years of sampling hosted by the Izaak Walton League and analyzed by the Des Moines Water Works.

Urban streams had moderate levels of nitrates, while streams that drained farm ground had the highest levels of nitrates. Aquatic life is damaged at 2 mg/l and above. The Des Moines Water Works must reduce nitrate levels to 10 mg/l to make it safe for human consumption.

Farmers can do better at getting nitrogen and phosphorus into their crops and not in our water. The question is, will they do so on a voluntary basis? Obviously, they have not yet seen fit to do so.

— Mike Delaney, Des Moines


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4 Replies

Re: Letter to the editor: Voluntary efforts by farmers not working

rsw- what a joke, we have always had high nitrate levels in the drinking water in DSM.  I think these nimrods should be more concerned about injesting the drugs in the water being flushed down the stools in the greater DSM area and cities bordering the river.  


The DSM Register is a Rag, few people read it anymore, and it has shrunk in sized from a large paper on Sunday, to just a few pages.  If these numbnuts do not like consumption of P&K&N  then let them move to Detroit.  


I never understood why anyone would stay in Iowa, if they were not engaged in farming.  Just goes to show you how many losers we have here, that is why 1/3 or our population is on the government payroll.  


Just because these nimrods are "dumbed down" they cannot blame that on the drinking water.  Adios Amigo. John

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Honored Advisor

Re: Letter to the editor: Voluntary efforts by farmers not working

Nitrate pollution is a significant health risk. Above 10 ppm, children and pregnant women are not supposed to consume that drinking source. We expect to see 2-4 ppm as " background" nitrates in this part of NC, but are fortunate that our wells are 0-2 ppm.

My greatest concern for agriculture is that you are going to see your livelihood increasingly identified as a culprit in nitrification of watersheds, whether you are the source or not. It certainly happened to us in the hog business here in NC, until the true sources were better identified.

Meanwhile, expect to see recommendations for large buffer strips on streams and even ditches. The thing that will irk you most is when you are limited in the nutrients you are allowed to apply to each acre of farmland.

We are held to an arbitrary number of pounds of N ( or P,if that is your plan's basis), based upon soil type and slope, and crop planted. No nutrient applications outside a 30-day window before a growing crop, and then during only set months on that given crop. A lot of common practices I read about here will become essentially illegal.

It starts like this letter, and moves from Best Management voluntary practices o mandatory compliance, a lot of documentation, and then inspections. Slippery slope, and the banana peels are letters like that one.

Good are going to need it!
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Letter to the editor: Voluntary efforts by farmers not working

RSW, if your worried about what non-farmers think of farmers, then maybe you should stop with all your comments about "dumping millions of pig manure on my fields, the direct payments I get are nothing compared to the $1500 per acre my corn is worth, I have bulldozed down lots of hold houses to grow more corn,and my land is worth $15,000 and I have 2000 acres" because you come across as a real bragging jerk with many of your comments.  I have seen many of your comments on the register's website over the years and it makes me embarrassed that non-farm folks would be judging me by so many of your thoughtless comments.  If your worried about the opinion folks have about farmers, then maybe you should think before you post.  You can defend your farming practices without being rude, bragging, and belittling the non-farm folks that we depend on consuming our products.


Re: Letter to the editor: Voluntary efforts by farmers not working

you forgot about mr wilson's comment on sending lagoon runoff down the river.


if you read much over at agweb over the years, and on here, you know the man has a serious knack for stupid.