After reading the Jan. 3 Newton Daily News article “Water quality a priority at statehouse” it would seem legislators Allen and Breckenridge and Gov. Reynolds believe water quality is solely dependent upon giving money to farmers to stop polluting. Maybe it’s time to treat the farming business like any other business and mandate farming practice which would reduce pollution at no cost to the taxpayer and little cost to the farmer.
Restaurant owners are prohibited from throwing their garbage into the streets. Service station owners can’t dump used motor oil on the grass or in a drainage ditch. Painters can’t discard paint cans, solvents etc. into a creek. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Why don’t business owners dispose of pollutants the easy and inexpensive way? Is it because they like to incur expenses for proper disposal? Don’t think so. It’s because the state mandates such practice and heavy fines are given to business owners who violate the health and safety rules.
It’s doubtful just giving money to farmers will change farming practices. There are no measurements in any proposal to assure money will do any good in reducing pollution. There will be no staff to check on compliance. There will be nothing but monetary handouts and volunteer participation for whatever that would be worth.
Just because there’s no money available, supposedly, it doesn’t mean the water quality process can’t begin.
Every soil type in the state would benefit from no fall tillage which, as everyone knows, is the sole cause of most spring soil erosion. Every area of the state would benefit from buffer strips along waterways within a field or along a stream. Neither of these practices would cost the taxpayer anything and would be a little easier to the farmer.
But these single practices won’t happen by begging farmers to do so. In order for pollution control to start in Iowa, farmers will have to receive a mandate from the legislature to save our soil and water resources.
Paul A. Muller