Politicians say nothing, but US farmers are increasingly terrified by it – climate change | Environment | The Guardian
Everyone knows it has been getting wetter and weirder, especially Dr Gene Takle, a Nobel prize-winning climate scientist at Iowa State University. Takle predicted 20 years ago the floods we see today, already linking it to climate change back then. Farmers just saw ponding and called the tiling company to install more. We’re on our way to doubling the size of the northern Iowa drainage system in the past 30 years as the upper midwest has grown more humid and extreme.
This drainage system is delivering runoff rich in farm fertilizer to the Mississippi river complex and the Gulf of Mexico, where the nitrate from Iowa and Illinois corn fields is growing a dead zone the size of New Jersey. The shrimping industry is being deprived of oxygen so Iowa farmers can chase 200 bushels of corn per acre – and hope against hope that corn will somehow increase in price as we plow up every last acre.
That flow also is creating a toxic source for Des Moines Water Works, which is facing up to $100m in improvements to remove agricultural chemicals from the Raccoon river that supplies 500,000 thirsty denizens. The waterworks sued our county over it, along with two others, but a federal judge threw out the case because you simply can’t sue an Iowa drainage district. And that means that there is no way to regulate agriculture as it responds to extreme weather and market consolidation that seeks immediate return.
Meanwhile, those huge rainfalls on exposed black dirt wash it to the vales even from the flat ground of our neighborhood. We are losing soil at two to three tons an acre a year.
Our society is committing suicide, slowly, through destruction of the soil, water, air and environment.