Voluntary compliance needed to avoid nutrient mandates
No matter where the heaviest nutrient loss contributors may be located, all farmers statewide are encouraged to meet the voluntary goals in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.
Otherwise, all farmers regardless of their contributions to the state’s nutrient losses, may be confronted with mandatory rules, said Lauren Lurkins, Illinois Farm Bureau director of natural and environmental resources.
“Where we tend to have (field) tile is where we tend to see the most nitrogen losses,” Lurkins said. “The phosphorous tends to move with the soil.”
These nutrient losses are draining into the Mississippi River and then spewing a poisonous amount of fertilizers into the Gulf of Mexico. The result is enlarging area in the gulf where nothing can grow called the hypoxic zone.
Lurkins recently visited at the Union County U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Center in Anna to explain this growing problem and an Illinois task force’s solution in the strategy.
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