Hypoxia is a problem around the world which stems from a number of causes including urban runoff, sewage deposits and fertilizer runoff. A report released Wednesday from the White House, “Scientific Assessment of Hypoxia in U.S. Coastal Waters,” provided some additional, unbiased light on this issue.
”This report makes it clear that there are many causes of hypoxia and that the causes vary based on location of the affected areas. Some are agriculture-related, and many are not. We support further research into all the causes of hypoxia because only then can we seriously develop and implement solutions that are workable and sustainable,” said Gary Duffy, South Dakota Corn Growers Association president from Oldham, SD.
The White House reports points out how agriculture has actually improved its efforts in recent years, which conflicts reports from biased sources like Environmental Working Group and the National Resource Defense Council.
“We are happy the report states that agriculture production methods have improved, and we are committed to doing all we can to encourage our growers to increase their efficiency, such as using variable-rate technology to ensure only the right amount of nutrients are applied and using conservation tillage methods to reduce or avoid nutrient runoff. Thanks to advanced farming practices and technology, nitrogen efficiency has increased 20 percent since the mid-1990s.
Corn being used for ethanol has been a major victim of the Gulf of Mexico “Dead Zone” blame game that has been going on the past couple of years. Naysayers need to face the facts; farmers are producing more corn on fewer acres, a trend that will continue into the future. Producers can meet the demands of food, feed, fuel and fiber while continuing to increase exports.
“Further, we question the implication that using corn for ethanol will require expanding corn acreage significantly. Increasing corn yields are helping us meet growing needs using fewer acres. “
Another noteworthy item from the report was that the fastest growing “Dead Zones” in the United States are in areas that have little to no agriculture or fertilizer use. Let’s see the media report on that.