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Monsanto takes on water quality improvement with new initiative

Agriculture.com Staff 12/08/2008 @ 4:20pm

Officials with the Monsanto Company announced this week a new initiative targeting water quality in the Mississippi River Basin, according to a company report.

The initiative, a collaboration between Monsanto, the Nature Conservancy, Iowa Soybean Association, Delta Wildlife and the National Audubon Society, will direct resources to work with farmers "to remove nutrients and sediment from agricultural runoff in the Mississippi River Basin," according to Monsanto.

"The Mississippi River is an ecological treasure and an economic powerhouse," says Michael Reuter, who oversees The Nature Conservancy's Great Rivers Partnership, which was created to help advance conservation of the world's major river systems, including the Mississippi. "This new effort by Monsanto will help show how we can make farming and conservation in the Mississippi River Basin more compatible so that nature and people alike benefit from improved water quality and enhanced wildlife habitat."

The effort, according to Monsanto, will help farmers remove nutrients and sediment from agricultural runoff in the Mississippi River Basin. In addition, the National Audubon Society is working with homeowners and others to implement measures to improve wildlife habitat and the quality of water entering the Mississippi River. The new initiative by Monsanto will advance the group's work and help determine the effectiveness of various conservation measures on improving wildlife habitat and water quality.

"We're proud to work on this bold conservation initiative which we believe offers a sustainable vision for agricultural landscapes wherein farmers can support our world's growing needs for food, fiber and fuel in ways that not only preserve water quality, but also support diverse and abundant wildlife populations," says Jerry Steiner, executive vice president at Monsanto. "We believe this initiative can serve as an important stepping stone toward the goal of preserving natural resources and wildlife in the Mississippi River Basin for future generations."

What's more, partners in the project say the effort is vital to the future of agriculture, and Midwestern farmers are poised to take "leadership roles" in reducing nutrient and sediment runoff into the Mississippi River, officials involved in the collaboration say.

"Farmers are emerging in key leadership roles through their investments, and by participating in the planning and implementation of practices that perform environmentally. It's our goal to support them and help them make meaningful progress," says Roger Wolf, Director of Environmental Programs at the Iowa Soybean Association. "Our goal is to use science -- research and data -- to systematically develop and implement a suite of management techniques that help production agriculture measurably improve stewardship while maintaining or increasing profitability."

Officials with the Monsanto Company announced this week a new initiative targeting water quality in the Mississippi River Basin, according to a company report.

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