Iowa is grappling with a growing battle over the integrity of its water. Nitrogen and phosphates have been flowing in ever-increasing quantities into Iowa’s public water supplies and dealing with the problem has become a major political issue in the state.
Large portions of the Midwest are called the Corn Belt and for good reason. Overall, about 90 million acres or 140,000 square miles of the United States are planted with corn and about half of that is in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota. In most of the Corn Belt, the corn is planted in rotation with soybeans. Both are warm weather crops and the soil is left barren for nearly half of the year when the two crops are out of season.
We have talked about the monarch butterfly on a number of occasions. The population of these iconic orange and black butterflies in North America has plummeted from 1 billion to 33 million over the past 20 years. People have undertaken a variety of efforts to try to save the species but now a major project to restore the dwindling habitat of the monarch is underway.