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Thursday, July 10, 2014 12:01 am

Editor's Note 7/10/14

 While central Illinois is glowing about this year’s fine corn and bean crops, some farmers, along with the fertilizer industry and government policymakers, are looking for ways to keep more of their expensive fertilizers on the farm and out of the Gulf of Mexico. Nutrients, mostly from agricultural sources, cause a large and growing “dead zone” in the Gulf, where marine life disappears. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency reports that 20 percent of the nitrogen and 11 percent of the phosphorous that reaches the Gulf comes from Illinois. An Illinois nutrient reduction strategy, due out this month, will recommend practices like cover crops and more careful applications, with a goal of reducing phosphorous loss by 25 percent and nitrogen loss by 15 percent over the next decade. The goals seem modest, but it’s good to know the problem is being addressed. –Fletcher Farrar, editor and publisher

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