IL Group says new farmbill would help.
3:06 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

IL #1 Contributor to Dead Zone in the Gulf

Scientists recently completed a yearly survey of the size of the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The report also said Illinois is the top state in contributing to the problem.

An Illinois Environmental group has issued a statement that the state needs to reduce the agricultural runoff it produces which contributes to the Dead Zone, which is currently the size of Connecticut.

Map of the current Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
Map of the current Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
Credit http://prairierivers.org/

Water Resource Scientist with the Prairie Rivers Network, Stacy James, said one of the best ways to begin addressing the problem is actually the currently embattled farm bill.

"The conservation programs provide cost share money to farmers to put in conservation practices, some of which will help reduce fertilizer loss," James said.

She said the farm bill is good first step, but it would need to be followed up by state regulations to fully address the problem.

James added that her group is also advocating for a provision in the farm bill called conservation compliance.

This would tie certain benefits in the farm bill to farmers using certain environmental practices.

The provision is in the senate's version of the farm bill  and could be included in the final legislation. Though James added that the current  farm bill extension expires in September, and another extension is likely to be passed before a final deal is reached.