Iowa Environmental Council
Speaking Directly to Farmers, Finding a Shared Concern for Clean WaterThe Iowa Environmental Council (IEC) is an alliance of diverse organizations and individuals working together to protect Iowa's natural environment. They work through policy to improve water quality in Iowa and downstream in the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. Iowa’s agriculture industry produces runoff from crop fields and livestock, which is a major source of water pollution and a significant contributor to the Dead Zone in the Gulf. Within McKnight’s strategy to reduce agricultural pollution and runoff along the northern half of the Mississippi River, the IEC has received operational support for its work to reduce agricultural pollution from Iowa farms.
As part of the IEC’s strategy to reduce polluted runoff, they took to the road to talk directly with farm families about conservation. They talked to several different farmers with diverse practices, philosophies, crops, and soil qualities, yet they shared some of the same concerns. They all expressed a sense of responsibility for soil and water stewardship and all had experimented with conservation practices, but all of them said that saving up to invest in new equipment to implement those practices could take years. The IEC gained some valuable information and made some good connections with these visits, and a few of the farmers they spoke with said they thought environmentalists should help educate farmers and non-farmers about water quality issues, which is exactly what the IEC plans to do.
The IEC actively works in public policy to provide a safe, healthy environment for all Iowans. They focus on public education and coalition building to give Iowans a voice on issues that affect their quality of life and to protect Iowa’s natural resources for current and future generations.