nitrogen

columbia city hall
File Photo / KBIA

Columbia City Council members approved stricter requirements for a controversial potential housing development near Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. KBIA’s Kate Grumke reports dozens of residents spoke up about their concerns at Monday’s meeting.

Clay Masters

This summer, officials in Iowa have been asking farmers to voluntarily reduce the amount of fertilizer they use. That’s because the fertilizer contains nitrates that are being washed into state waterways and creating environmental concerns locally and nationally. The runoff has been particularly bad this year, and the outcry over typical crop practices is growing.

A new report from the US Department of Agriculture has found that through voluntary conservation measures, farmers reduced the amount of nitrogen that washes off their fields into Mississippi River watershed waterways by 21 percent. That's good news for water treatment plants that spend millions of dollars each year to remove farm chemicals from drinking water supplies. Harvest Public Media’s Abbie Fentress Swanson takes a look at the particular challenge posed by the nitrogen in fertilizer, which has been running into Midwest streams at concerning levels this summer.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

A University of Missouri plant scientist has launched a website that allows crop producers to track rainfall and the risk of nitrogen loss during the spring seasons.