This brief focuses specifically on agriculture in the Midwest where excess nitrogen presents a significant challenge for water quality – both locally and in the Gulf of Mexico. While the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force has called for a 45% reduction in watershed nitrate loading across the Corn Belt, our business as usual mid-century projections show this rate rising, rather than falling. Therefore, this brief explores policies aimed at reducing nitrogen losses from farms in the region. These include (among others) adoption of best management practices, drainage management, wetland restoration, cap and trade policies and modification to the biofuel mandates. We find that no single policy is capable of achieving the stated environmental goals, but, when implemented in concert, they could indeed be effective at reducing nitrate leaching rates across the Corn Belt. However, once again, there are tradeoffs associated with achieving this environmental objective and these are explored in this Policy Brief.
Liu, Jing; Hertel, Thomas W.; Bowling, Laura; Jame, Sadia; Kucharik, Christopher; and Ramankutty, Navin
"Evaluating Alternative Options for Managing Nitrogen Losses from Corn Production,"
Purdue Policy Research Institute (PPRI) Policy Briefs: Vol. 4
, Article 9.
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/gpripb/vol4/iss1/9