More than 330 producers, educators, researchers, and conservation professionals attended the conference "Agriculture and the Environment: State and Federal Initiatives" in Ames on March 5-7. The purpose of the conference was to
- provide a forum for awareness and discussion of critical issues affecting water resources;
- address federal and state nonpoint source pollution policies that will potentially impact land management in agricultural watersheds; and
- address specific topics that will focus on total maximum daily loads, nutrient criteria, animal feeding operations, and source water protection.
Highlights of state and federal programs and activities
Activities addressing state and federal initiatives were highlighted during the conference by six plenary speakers, discussions during 28 separate workshop sessions, and through more than 25 poster presentations.
Topics ranged from how local citizens can be involved in watershed projects to a presentation about future of water quality programs from a national perspective.
One topic that attracted interest during the conference was what had been learned about the water quality of Iowa's 132 lakes. Iowa State University scientists reported that first-year monitoring of a 5-year sampling program suggests that Iowa has some of the most nutrient-rich lake water in the world. Also, reports were presented about Iowa's volunteer citizen monitoring program and how the results of this program, IOWATER, are being summarized.
Attendees were encouraged to become involved in the 2002 Farm Bill discussion. A common challenge was for those interested in soil and water issues to work at making land stewardship the centerpiece of the next Farm Bill.
Information about the conference and many of the presentations is available online you may order a copy of the conference proceedings from Agribusiness Education Program, 2104 Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The conference was sponsored by ISU, the Iowa State Water Resource Research Institute, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Plan to attend next year's conference. The 2002 Agriculture and the Environment conference is scheduled for March 4-6. Reserve these dates on your calendar.
This article originally appeared on pages 31-32 of the IC-486 (4) -- April 9, 2001 issue.