Agricultural productivity in the United States has doubled over the last 50 years through agricultural intensification and adoption of new innovative technologies. Although efficiency of our agricultural systems has increased, water quality remains a concern with minimal measured improvements observed nationwide. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the processes, conservation practices, and programs that influence the impact of agriculture on surface and groundwater quality. Complexities and difficulties associated with nutrient cycling and transport processes, management decisions and practice trade-offs, and federal conservation program effectiveness create immense challenges to achieving and measuring water quality improvement goals. Development of more precise nutrient recommendations, advancement of water monitoring methods to better differentiate among potential nutrient sources, design and implementation of novel conservation practices that address dissolved nutrient loss and in-stream nutrient retention, increased knowledge of processes influencing nutrient supply and transport, and increased cost-effectiveness of conservation programs integrating regional and industry-based collaboration are needed to continue to improve water quality in agricultural landscapes. (KEYWORDS: nitrogen cycle, phosphorus cycle, cover crops, riparian buffers) Chair: Heidi Peterson, International Plant Nutrition Institute.
IP64, April 2019, 20 pp. Available free online and in print (fee for shipping/handling).
Publication Impact Report – April 2021
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