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Farmers in Iowa and other states in the Mississippi River Basin are getting a lot of attention for their supposed contributions to the Hypoxia Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Whether farmers are totally to blame or not remains a matter of conjecture, but Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey believes his state needs to take a proactive approach to the issue. Northey, a farmer from Spirit Lake, Iowa, outlined the Iowa Statewide Nutrient Reduction Initiative at the Integrated Crop Management Conference at Iowa State University Dec. 2. The conference attracts about 800 crop consultants and agronomists to Ames, Iowa annually.