Reducing Pollution From Farm Fields Through Education

Nov 13, 2014

Credit flickr/United Soybean Board

Agricultural runoff is a problem in Illinois and many other farm states.  Nitrogen, phosphorous and chemicals help with yields, but too much winds up in the water supply.   That creates problems like algae growth that robs the water of oxygen, killing off aquatic life. 

Jean Payne represents fertilizer and chemical dealers in the state.  She says a training program will launch this winter in an effort to get farmers better educated on how to apply nutrients to their crops, including the best time for application and proper amounts. 

"For the fertilizer industry, it's imperative we take ownership of this issue and work with our farmer customers to do a better job of managing our nutrients, really on every field."

"Water quality is important, not just for drinking water. For aesthetic purposes, for the quality of life in our state, for how people perceive Illinois.  Are we farming as responsibly as we can?  Because we are depended upon to produce a lot of corn and soybeans and we do," she said.

It's part of an effort involving the Illinois E-P-A that aims to reduce what's washing off farm fields and into streams, rivers and elsewhere. 

The proposal is also expected to include ways to reduce pollutants coming from waste water treatment plants.