Controversy over a potential ban on applying manure to soybean fields caused the state's Environmental Protection Commission to postpone a final decision.

The commission voted to draft an amended version of the proposed ban. The new rule would allow producers to use up to 100 pounds of manure per acre on ground used for soybeans, but after five years the practice would be banned.

Proponents of the ban argue that soybeans don't need the nutrients provided by manure. They say manure leaves too much nitrogen in the soil and creates nitrate pollution when it runs into state waterways. 

Soybean producers contend more research needs to be done to asses the impact of manure on water quality. They also feel that the EPC is unfairly targeting the livestock industry, says Kirk Leeds, CEO of the Iowa Soybean Association.

"It's become a political issue by members of the EPC, who are more interested in making a political statement than improving water quality in Iowa," notes Leeds.

EPC staff will draft the new proposal and submit it at the commission next's hearing on Dec. 6. If passed, the proposal would still have to undergo a six-month rule-making process.

Source: Agri News, Des Moines Register