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All News and Pages Related to "Iowa"

Don’t P down my leg and tell me it’s raining

Posted on December 5th, 2019

Plants require nutrients for growth and agronomists divide these into macro- and micro-nutrient groups, depending on the quantity needed. Most important for both crop production and water pollution here in Iowa are the macronutrients of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). Nitrogen is the beer of the nutrient world. We drink a lot of it, spill […]

Cry Me a Raccoon River

Posted on December 2nd, 2019

Note: the title was not my idea, but I have permission to use it.  I suppose we all experience certain days when events crystallize our ideas in ways such that the day and the ideas will both go unforgotten. November 14 was one of those days for me. That day I conducted a presentation at […]

Iowa is Hemorrhaging Nitrogen

Posted on November 7th, 2019

Someone once told me “for god’s sake start at the end” when giving a presentation, and since there is a lot to unload with this one, I’ll give you a couple of nuggets if you don’t have time to read the rest: For the 2019 Water Year (10/1/18 to 9/30/19) Iowa stream nitrate load was […]

Drain Brain

Posted on October 14th, 2019

Note: This essay was co-written with my colleague Professor Silvia Secchi. Some people read these essays and say I (CJ) don’t offer solutions. I disagree with this: apply nutrients at recommended rates, accurately take credit for manure nutrients, don’t apply manure to snow, plant stream buffers, quit cropping in the 2-year floodplain, and so forth. […]


Posted on October 3rd, 2019

An article authored by Anna Jones recently appeared in the U.S. on-line version of The Guardian about Iowa and our struggle with nitrate pollution. One thing in particular about the article caught my eye and it was the description of a Marshall County farmer’s management of hog manure. He and his brother borrowed $1.5 million to […]

Fishing in the Rain

Posted on September 25th, 2019

I’ve always liked fishing in the rain for several reasons, not the least of which is that the fish bite. But it can’t be just any rain; a slow and steady warm rain with no wind and no lightning is best. Fish won’t bite if there’s lightning, and besides I’m terrified of lightning and if […]

It’s Their Way or the Highway

Posted on September 16th, 2019

Soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) are local government units established under state law to help implement natural resource management programs at the local level. There are 100 of these districts in Iowa (one in every county; Pottawatomie County has two) and they are led by a 5-member elected panel of commissioners. SWCDs are staffed […]

Market Dis(equilibrium)

Posted on August 5th, 2019

Authored by Professor Silvia Secchi In her 2006 address to the Applied Agricultural Economics Association, Kitty Smith, who was then Associate Administrator at USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), said that most conservation programs’ “priorities are agriculture-centric. They are based on what the producers of the agri-environmental benefits can supply, rather than what is necessarily demanded […]

10,000 Pounds of BS

Posted on August 1st, 2019

I’ve said in the past that hatching writable ideas can be very difficult. There are many days when I feel like this thing has run its course. But, it seems like somebody always bails me out eventually by knowingly or unknowingly giving me an idea. University of Iowa tough guy Jeren Glosser did this a […]

Accommodate my Pile

Posted on July 19th, 2019

The great physicist Ernest Rutherford famously said of science: “If it isn’t physics, it’s just stamp collecting.” I often think Iowa farmers must feel similarly about farming, i.e., “if you aren’t growing corn, it’s just gardening.” If you’ve heard farmers talk about growing corn, you know it’s more than about making money. They love watching […]