Corn Belt universities fertilizer advice helps promote water pollution, grantee finds

Swine production facilities are ubiquitous in the Corn Belt. This one is in Minnesota east of Minneapolis. Photo by Keith Schneider / Circle of Blue

In the latest in his series on “Big Ag” and water pollution, veteran reporter Keith Schneider examined how taxpayer-funded public universities have played a major role in encouraging the over-use of fertilizer. Recommendations from a federal scientist, later refined at the University of Minnesota and other Corn Belt universities, encourage farmers to overuse commercial fertilizer and manure in the 10-state Corn Belt, the region with the most contaminated water in the country.