Water Pollution

Pollution: agricultural operations

Nonpoint Source Pollution

Pollution: Agricultural Operations

caption Agricultural runoff accounts for a significant amount of nonpoint source pollution. (Source: NOAA)

Agricultural operations account for a large percentage of nonpoint source pollution in the United States[1].and elsewhere throughout the world.  According to the Census of Agriculture, approximately 940 million acres of farmland existed in the United States in 2002[2]. While the vast breadth of this land provides space for farming – an industry that provides the backbone of the USA. economy, not to mention much of the food we eat – it also creates numerous opportunities for nonpoint source pollution.


In agriculture, large tracts of land are typically plowed to grow crops. Plowing the land exposes and disturbs the soil, making it more vulnerable to erosion during rainstorms. This increases the runoff that carries fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides away from the farm and into nearby waters.


  1. ^U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2004. Nonpoint Source Pollution: The Nation's Largest Water Quality Problem.
  2. ^U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2004. 2002 Census of Agriculture.
  3. NOAA National Ocean Service Education—Nonpoint Source Pollution : Agricultural Operations

Further Reading



(2013). Pollution: agricultural operations. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/51cbeea57896bb431f69958a


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