Regional Initiative Works to Address Agriculture and Water Quality

Regional Initiative Works to Address Agriculture and Water Quality

April 24, 2009

By working together and combining resources, a regional program is addressing environmental issues related to agriculture.

Heartland Publications

Several publications developed through the Heartland Regional Water Quality Initiative and published by UNL Extension, exemplify the group's collaborative work around timely issues of water quality and crop production. These titltes are available on-line and also may be available from your local extension office.

Agricultural Phosphorus Management and Water Quality Protection in the Midwest: A Heartland Regional Water Coordination Publication, RP187.

Nutrient Management Plan: Records Checklist and Samples for Animal Feeding Operations, RP188. Also, customizable, electronic forms are available online.

Agricultural Nitrogen Management for Water Quality Protection in the Midwest: a Heartland Regional Water Coordination Publication, RP189.

Emerging Ethanol Industry: Implications of Animal Manure Management, RP192.

Impact of Feeding Distillers Grain on Nutrient Management Planning for Beef Cattle Systems, RP190.

Impact of Feeding Dry Distillers Grains on Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans for Swine, RP191.

Impact of Feeding Distillers Grains on Nutrient Management Planning on Dairy Farms, RP193.

Impact of Feeding Distillers Grains on Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning for Poultry Layer Production Systems, RP194.

Targeting Watershed Management Practices for Water Quality Protection, RP195.

Use of Antibiotics in Animal Production: Environmental Concerns, RP196.

The Heartland Regional Water Coordination Initiative is a partnership of Iowa State University, Kansas State University, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service and U.S. EPA Region 7.

The initiative's goal is to build partnerships within these institutions to help the residents, educators, agencies and community leaders of these states better address water quality concerns.

Heartland programs make research, education and extension resources of the land-grant universities more accessible to efforts on regional priority water issues, said Charles Wortmann, UNL nutrient management specialist and co-leader of the nutrient management education team.

The Heartland team is working on issues related to nutrient management, bioenergy and water resources, social processes in environmental decision making and watershed management education.

"We are working to put together research findings from many disciplines to determine how we can more cost-effectively reduce the levels of nutrients and sediment lost to water bodies," he said. "Our goal is to improve water quality."

Scientists from the four states are working together to reduce nutrient levels in Midwestern streams and lakes and looking at the conversion of CRP lands to row crop production while maintaining land productivity and preventing contamination of water bodes. With increased demand for corn and soybean crops for biofuels and other uses, CRP acres are being returned to production. Information from land-grant university research can be used by Extension and agencies in providing guidance to farmers for minimizing the negative environmental impacts of that conversion.

For more information about the Heartland Regional Water Coordination Initiative, visit the Web at in 2003, the Heartland Initiative is supported by the USDA CSREES National Integrated Water Quality Program.

Sandi Alswager Karstens
IANR News Service