This article discusses the environmental impact of increased crop production in the 20th century. It focuses on the role of agriculture in accelerating global warming and the effects of toxic runoff. Among the effects of runoff are the several dead zones that exist in the oceans bordering the United States. For instance, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is largely due to runoff from fertilizer use in the Midwest. The article also discusses the attempt of the Clean Water Act of 1972 to mitigate the effects of water pollution. However, the Clean Water Act is also criticized because it exempted farms from complying with new standards. Farmers claim that strategies to reduce the amount of runoff would be costly and difficult to implement.
If you would like to learn more, please visit: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/water-pollution-and-the-farm-economy/