Nitrate Levels in Iowa Watershed

Iowa Public Television’s (IPTV) Market to Market  covered “High Nitrate Levels in One Iowa Watershed Moves Utility Toward Historic Legal Action” in their weekly broadcast, Friday, February 20. Among the interviewed was AAI’s Nutrient Management & Environmental Stewardship Director, Dean Lemke.

Dean on IPTV

DEAN LEMKE/DIRECTOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP/AGRIBUSINESS ASSOCIATION OF IOWA: “It’s an active effort here to record that progress more meaningfully than we have been able to do in the past.”

Lemke joined AAI in 2013 and has lead AAI’s efforts to assist with the implementation of Iowa’s Water Quality Initiative and the tracking of voluntary adopted practices outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Lemke was the lead author of the agricultural non point source section of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and has over Forty years of experience in developing and implementing research initiatives regarding environmental stewardship of production agriculture. The state adopted the science-based plan in 2013, which recommends wetlands and bioreactors that slow down, capture and digest nutrient flows. Lemke claims an average of 52% of nitrates entering such landscapes are removed. But sweeping results haven’t come as quickly as some demand.

“The overall goal of the Iowa strategy is 45% nitrogen and phosphorous reduction, which parallels the goal for the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone.” stated Lemke at the 2015 Agribusiness Showcase & Conference in Des Moines, IA. “It’s an active effort here to record that progress more meaningfully than we have been able to do in the past….Without a doubt, today’s economy in the corn belt is affected by low grain prices.  And farmers are struggling to break even.  That’s not a good time to ask farmers to make major significant investments in environmental improvements.”

We encourage our membership to view the story’s coverage at IPTV Market to Market link below:

The Agribusiness Association of Iowa exists for the purpose of advocating, communicating, and educating on behalf of a proactive, profitable, and environmentally responsible professional agribusiness industry, which is positioned for the future. Please contact the AAI Office with questions or comments 515-232-8323 or email [email protected].


Northey at County meetings

BILL NORTHEY/IOWA SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: “We certainly want to make sure that they knew that there are a lot of folks across the state of Iowa that are supporting them. Certainly a lot in state government, that we got their back, this is important for us to get right.”