Understanding farmers’ perspectives on conservation practices, water pollution

Read the full story from South Dakota State University.

Nonpoint source pollution is the primary cause of the algae overgrowth that infiltrates eastern South Dakota lakes, rivers and ponds toward the end of every summer. The water’s pollution can be traced back to the runoff from agricultural land, which is filled with excessive nutrients from the fertilizer used to ensure a strong crop yield.

The resulting algae, often known as an “algae bloom,” can sometimes be harmful and have negative impacts on humans, wildlife, pets and livestock.

Tong Wang, an associate professor in the Ness School of Management and Economics at South Dakota State University and an SDSU Extension advanced production specialist, has spent the past few years gaining a better understanding of nonpoint source pollution, farmers’ perspectives on water pollution and solutions to the problem.

Her research paper, titled “Adopting cover crops and buffer strips to reduce nonpoint source pollution: Understanding farmers’ perspectives in the U.S. Northern Great Plains,” was published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. Wang’s work was supported by a grant from the United State Department of Agriculture—National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Coordinated Agricultural Projects.

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