Farmers should pay for nutrient reduction

This letter is in regards to the May 15 Times-Republican article “Branstad, Reynolds get up close with conservation,” which revealed that state agricultural leaders are lobbying for more state funding for nutrient reduction programs. While nutrient reduction is vital to the protection of our waters, farmers can do this on their own dime. If I want to properly dispose of tires, which are very hazardous to the environment when improperly disposed of, I have to pay $3 a piece for small tires and $10 each for larger tires at the Marshall County landfill. I do not expect a government handout to offset these costs because stewardship of the land is the right thing to do. However, state agricultural leaders do expect yet another freebie, in addition to the numerous subsidies farmers already receive, compliments of the taxpayer.

Rep. Dean Fisher, of Garwin, a farmer who supports state funding for reduced nutrient programs, offered this gem of a quote for the article: “Nutrient management strategy is a big deal for Iowa to keep the EPA off our backs.” Nutrient management strategy should be a big deal so that our waters are not poisoned any further than they already are, not because you may face the wrath of a federal agency.

Rep. Fisher, if you were truly a steward of the land, you would have nothing to fear from the EPA. I am glad the EPA is on our collective back and I hope it stays there. But do not use my tax dollars to meet any reduced nutrient standards. Rather, think of reduced nutrient standards as a cost of business that you, the American farmer, must incur in order to not kill your non-farming brethren.