Environmental activists continue to misinform Iowans about the progress our state’s farmers are making in improving water quality. The latest attack, by the Iowa Environmental Council (IEC), tried to portray the Iowa water quality initiative as an ineffective, ill-conceived ef­­fort that will re­­quire a cen­­tury or more to reach stated goals.

To make its point, the IEC ap­­pears to purposely confuse the economic comparison scenarios out­­lined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (INRS) with the plan’s goals and a federally established baseline used to measure progress. The activist group then minimizes farmers’ progress on water quality practices and says agriculture is not stepping up to the challenge of improving water quality.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Iowa farmers have made tremendous progress improving water quality during the six years since launching the statewide, comprehensive INRS based on proven science. In order to understand the scope of the issue and measure success, it was necessary to develop a baseline, consistent with the federal Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan, which was established by Iowa State University after the launch of the INRS. To view that baseline and progress, check out page...