Soil Erosion, Water Quality, and Biodiversity Are Three Challenges Midwest Farmers Face
Despite recent record yields for corn and soybean farmers throughout the Midwest, several challenges lie ahead. For example, nitrogen and phosphorus, along with soil sediments from agricultural fields have been identified as contributing factors to water quality degradation, as underscored by the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. An increase in consumer demand for food and agricultural products, including energy, has increased the number of cultivated Midwest acres, and is concomitant with reductions in soil and water quality, and biodiversity.
The following quote, from ISU professor Lisa Schulte Moore, captures the challenges facing Midwest farmers:
“While our current agricultural system achieves record productivity in crops and livestock, it is also associated with serious environmental shortcomings, including declines in water quality and biodiversity, increased flooding and greenhouse gas emissions, and even degradation of the foundation of agricultural productivity: the soil” (Schulte Moore, 2014).
Click on the following sections to explore these challenges in more detail: