USDA to spend $300 million to curb farm runoff
By Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis – The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will spend more than $300 million to improve water quality along the Mississippi River.
The plan targets farm land in a dozen states including Missouri.
The agency is trying to keep fertilizer and animal waste from draining into the river and its tributaries. The nutrients eventually wind up in the Gulf of Mexico, causing algae to flourish and reducing oxygen levels for fish.
USDA Conservationist J.R. Flores says the new funding should encourage farmers to adopt more sustainable practices.
"We know that there have been some water quality problems over the years, in the Mississippi River, particularly, and so we're excited about providing this opportunity and moving forward so we can show that these tax payer dollars are benefiting the environment," Flores said.
The initiative encourages applicants to include water monitoring as a part of their conservation plans.