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Investigate Midwest/USA TODAY finds that Midwest farming is killing the Gulf of Mexico

An investigative report from Investigate Midwest and USA TODAY looked at precipitation and nitrogen level data from 2014 to 2020, finding that heavy rainfall washes fertilizer into nearby and far away water systems. Investigators looked at Champaign County’s “high rates of nitrogen surplus for corn crops – No. 3 in the nation – and because it’s one of relatively few places where the U.S. Geological Survey tracks watershed nitrogen concentration over a multi-year period.”

The report is quite damning: climate change has altered rainfall (amounts and frequencies) and the way many farmers then tend their crops, causing this extra fertilizer to wash into our waterways, all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. 

The article goes on to highlight some of the things farmers, like C-U’s Ann Swanson, are doing to try to mitigate this type of widespread contamination, while also outlining the ways that these excess, heavy rains are damaging crops. 

Read the entire article here

Top image by Jessica Hammie.


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