Ikes-Freshwater conference focuses on ag and water


About 200 people – environmentalists and farmers – took part in an all-day conference on agriculture and water quality sponsored by the Izaak Walton League in partnership with the Freshwater Society.

The March 27 conference was aimed at trying to reach some common understanding of the contentious issue of pollution caused by agricultural production, especially farm drainage.

Many of the participants and attendees said they felt the conference helped shed some light on an issue that more often generates only heated debate.


Panel discussion featured, from left: Warren Formo of the
Minnesota Agricultural Water Resources Coalition; Tony
Tompson, a farmer from Windom; Gary Sands, a UM
professor and drainage expert; Dan Engstrom, director of
the Science Museum of Minnesota’s St. Croix Watershed
Research Station; Joe Martin, assistant Minnesota commis-
sioner of agriculture; Freshwater President Gene
Merriam; Gary Wertish, vice president of the Minnesota
Farmers Union; and Gyles Randall, a UM professor and
expert on agricultural nutrients.

The conference benefited from a number of highly qualified water experts. Jonathan Foley, director of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, delivered a thought-provoking keynote speech on “The Other Inconvenient Truth,” the collision the world faces between a population that is growing at 75 million people per year and agricultural production practices that already are over-using and polluting water.

Click here to read an article about the conference written by Angela Schnaubelt for the Twin Cities Water Examiner.

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