Roger Wolf
Executive Director, ACWA



Ag suppliers recommit to Code of Practice for Nitrogen Fertilization

October 4, 2011 (Ankeny, IA) — The organization of farm retailers in the Raccoon and Des Moines River watersheds called Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance (ACWA) has affirmed its commitment to a Code of Practice for Nitrogen Fertilization.

Harry Ahrenholtz, president of ACWA, says, “With this Code of Practice, ACWA’s membership continues its good faith effort to reduce crop nutrient losses from farm fields in the Raccoon and Des Moines watersheds.”

In part, the ACWA Code of Practice is a formal agreement among the retailers that they will delay fall anhydrous applications without a nitrification inhibitor until soil temperatures are 50°F and trending lower. ACWA members use the county soil temperature and forecast maps compiled by Iowa State University, available at, as a reference point for soil temperatures.

In addition, Ahrenholtz says, “This year’s Code is an update of our prior Code of Practice, reflecting that efforts are being coordinated in these targeted watersheds as the industry works with the USDA in voluntary and incentive-based nutrient management. The Code highlights some of the new opportunities for farmers to be involved in programs that can enhance the environment, plus improve crop production efficiency.”

The updated Code of Practice includes several new elements.

ACWA wants producers participating with USDA Conservation Programs to know additional considerations for conformance with NRCS 590 Nutrient Management Standard will need to be followed. ACWA encourages farmers in targeted subwatersheds to adopt nutrient management enhancements to maximize nutrient use efficiency and help protect the watershed’s water quality. Nutrient management enhancements include use of nitrogen stabilizers, slow release fertilizers, incorporation or injection, soil nitrate testing and other technologies that minimize transport of nitrogen to surface or ground water sources. Special NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funds are available for eligible farmers in these areas.

ACWA also encourages farmers to consider adopting other supporting practices that reduce nitrate flow from tile systems including: tile line denitrification bioreactors, constructed wetlands, conservation stream buffers and fall cover cropping systems. More information on these targeted watershed initiatives is available at

The commitment of ACWA to a Code of Practice has received good reviews in past years from the public, regulators, farmers and dealers alike.

“As an organization, we’re proud of our members’ dedication to this ongoing effort to improve profitable crop production with an eye toward enhanced environmental programs,” Ahrenholtz says.

ACWA membership consists of leading ag retailers in the Raccoon River and Des Moines River watersheds. The group’s mission is to establish reasonable and practical guidelines for fall nitrogen fertilization to reduce nitrate loss from farm fields entering the Des Moines and Raccoon River and connecting tributaries.

To contact an ACWA member locally, call:
Albert City — Ag Partners, LLC — Troy Upah | 712-843-2291
Ames — FC — Ray Carpenter and Chris Pearson | 515-817-2100
Cherokee — First Coop Association — Jim Carlson | 712-225-5400
Dedham — Dedham Cooperative Association — Roger Shaw | 712-683-5515
Fort Dodge — New Coop, Inc. — Dan Dix | 515-955-2040
Pocohontas — Pro Coop — Jim Day | 515-373-6532
Ralston — West Central — Paul Konrad | 712-667-3200 and Harry Ahrenholtz | 515-370-0044
Webster City — Van Diest Supply — John Van Diest | 800-779-2424
West Des Moines — Heartland Co-op — Dave Coppess | 515-225-1334
Goldfield — Gold-Eagle Cooperative — Stu Pannkuk | 515-825-3732
Wall Lake — CPS — Duane Petersen | 712-664-2222
West Des Moines — Helena Chemical Company — John McKinney | 515-309-3461
Roland — Key Cooperative — Boyd Brodie | 515-388-4341

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