Weigh In On Mississippi River Solutions
National Geographic News' article about Use and Abuse
of the Mississippi River Basin in the context of U.S. agriculture hit a nerve.
Writer Sally Deneen carefully explains the issue. We have the Mississippi River Watershed, a national source for water for
habitat, cities, and recreation, also serving as the world's most productive food
gets to the crux of the matter:
|River Currents Newsletter
- Four out of every 10 ears of corn in the
world are grown in the
Mississippi River water shed.
- The "lion's share" of the U.S. corn, grain, livestock, poultry, cotton,
sorghum and soy is grown there.
- The U.S. is the biggest net exporter of "virtual water" due to its
How do we reconcile these two roles - protecting water quality while continuing
to produce a large share of the country's - as well as the world's - food?|
Deneen cites some solutions: If farmers in the water shed could recognize the
effects of growing, say, alfalfa for part of every other year, nitrates in
ground water would be substantially reduced. The challenge: alfalfa doesn't
bring as much return on investment as corn and soybeans.
Another solution: Some winter crops, like rye, would take in nitrogen and hold
it. The challenge: nitrogen fertilizer is cheaper than planting another crop.
Minnesota is experimenting with yet another possible solution: self regulation
What do you think some solutions could be?
We're taking a brief poll as a
starting point to a
national discussion. We'd like to know what you think might be done
to address this important Mississippi River water shed issue. There are other
issues we'll be seeking your input on. For now, participate in our poll, and
start the dialogue for the future of
Please click here to take
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