TFI Statement on Court Dismissal of Des Moines Water Works Lawsuit


March 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal of a legal challenge by the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) against 10 drainage districts in northwestern Iowa. The lawsuit sought to hold the districts responsible for excess nitrates in downstream waters.

"TFI is pleased to learn of the federal court judge's decision to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the Des Moines Water Works. We hope this decision represents the final chapter on this issue. While this suit was directed at drainage districts, it was really a counterproductive challenge to Iowa's farmers.

The quest for water quality solutions belongs in the field and with our research institutions, not in a courtroom. The farm economy is facing stiff challenges, so it is particularly unfortunate that the significant financial resources spent on legal defense were not, instead, dedicated to agricultural research on 4R nutrient management practices.

It's time for all stakeholders to work together on constructive  solutions, such as the  4R Nutrient Stewardship, which is a set of best management practices designed to maximize the utilization and consumption of nutrients on the farm. The concept is to use the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place.  This innovative and science-based program is supported by a diverse group of agribusinesses, environmental and conservation organizations and government agencies.

Moving forward, TFI will continue to support farmers with information and research on the 4Rs. In the research area, we are focused on bridging knowledge gaps and bringing that information to growers through our $7 million 4R Research Fund which sponsors including an Iowa State University project on reducing nitrate loss on tiled lands."