In the wake of recent research at Iowa State University showing soil loss far in excess of previous USDA estimates, Professor Neil Hamilton, Director of the Drake University Agricultural Law Center, addressed the legal foundation for soil conservation on Iowa’s farmland. The complete essay can be found in the Des Moines Register.

Professor Neil Hamilton

Professor Neil Hamilton

The essay examines the legislative and judicial basis for limiting the state’s soil loss. The laws include the establishment of soil loss limits by Soil and Water Conservation Districts, mandatory notice of lease termination to prevent soil exploitation and waste, and the recognition of the importance of Iowa’s soil to the public welfare. The Iowa Supreme Court has stated:

It should take no extended discussion to demonstrate that agriculture is important to the welfare and prosperity of this state. It has been judicially recognized as our leading industry. The state has a vital interest in protecting its soil as the greatest of its natural resources, and it has the right to do so.

Click here for a more in depth discussion of Iowa’s soil conservation law.