Iowa Soybean Leaders Back Plan to Reduce Runoff

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad delivers his Condition of the State address before a joint session of the Iowa Legislature, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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By Rachel Begle

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Environmentalists say it doesn't go far enough, but the Iowa Soybean Association is praising Gov. Terry Branstad's strategy to keep harmful nutrients from reaching Iowa waterways and the Gulf of Mexico.

Association leaders who met in Ankeny this week reaffirmed their support for the plan, which was released last month. ISA President Mark Jackson says the plan is based on science, recognizes the diversity of the state's landscape and is "much more effective than a costly, one-size-fits-all effort to improve water quality."

The plan calls on wastewater treatment plants to make upgrades to reduce their discharges into waterways. But it asks farmers to take voluntary steps to reduce the runoff caused by fertilizers and manure on farm fields.

Critics say they doubt a voluntary approach will have much impact.

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