Pressure to Produce (Fred Kirschenmann, Farm Policy Expert)
How do farm practices and policies affect water quality? Hear Fred Kirschenmann's perspective.
We have put farmers in the position where the only option they have for improving their economic situation is to produce more. If you're going to produce more corn, if that's the only option you've got is to improve your yields, one of the only tools you've got to do that with is more nitrogen. So when you say to a farmer: "You've got to stop using so much nitrogen, because too many nitrates are getting into the water and it's costing too much for us to clean that out." What you're saying to the farmer is: "We want you to cut back on the only tool you've got to increase your yield, which is the only option you've got to stay in business." And that's a pretty tough sell.