The Fertilizer Institute’s Statement in Response to the Des Moines Water Works Lawsuit

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March 11, 2015

Washington, D.C.  - The lawsuit filed by the Des Moines Water Works today against the governing authorities for 10 of the state’s drainage districts is unfortunate and will divert resources that could help fund a real solution to Des Moines’ water quality issue.

We are reviewing the brief filed with the Court, and will work with the rest of the agriculture community to fully respond to this litigation.

Iowa farmers are making progress when it comes to the environment, and have begun implementing changes outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. These efforts are deserving of support and resources.  Water quality and nutrients in the environment are part of a complex system, and there is much more we can learn about nutrient cycling and how it is positively impacted by broad adoption of conservation and 4R nutrient stewardship best management practices.

To this end, available resources should be focused on constructive, science-based solutions for clean water such as the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Research Fund.  The fund supports U.S. and Canadian projects in partnership with land-grant universities, watershed stakeholders and government agencies, as well as industry initiatives. The North American fertilizer industry has pledged $7 million to fund this multi-year research effort including funds to Iowa State University researchers to assess the production and environmental impacts of multiple nitrogen management practices on drained landscapes.   It would be far better if the hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of dollars that will be spent on this lawsuit were directed toward research of this kind.