A matter of balance.
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Nitrogen and phosphorus are nutrients that are essential for crop growth and profitability, but crop nutrients that escape from the field are potential pollutants. Cropland tends to be nutrient-rich and runoff from the farmstead, pastures and fields can transport sediment, organic solids, nutrients and other contaminants to surface waters. Cropping practices that stabilize the soil and quickly move crop nutrients into the root zone will protect water quality and build soil health. Many farms have adopted these practices. In fact, on-farm nutrient management has greatly improved in the past twenty-five years, yet water quality problems associated with algae blooms and oxygen depletion persist in Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay and other waterways.