2012 Farm Bill

by

July 24 2010

Dear Mr. Abrams, (Assistant to Congressman Kratovil)

Thankyou for your call about genetically modified seed. I hope that you have had an opportunity to visit our website and blog. I know the far-reaching consequences of our food system are complex and not easily fixed but as a member of the House Agriculture Committee the Congressman is in a position to bring about desperately needed change. As Vaclav Smil pointed out, what started as a shortage of manure sourced nitrogen was quickly satisfied by an overabundance of nitrate production during and following World War II. As shown on our reference graph43 for the Choptank River, nitrogen application increased 8-9 times beginning in the 50’s as pasture was eliminated. As the graph shows the results were catastrophic for Choptank water species. The same nitrogen increase and catastrophic result occurred Nationwide as the 2000 Gulf of Mexico Study31 shows. This powerful scientific report recommended a reduction in nitrogen application for the Mississippi watershed which encompasses more than 40% of the US land area but it was rejected due to pressure from powerful agricultural interests. Since 2000 the medical and public health community realized that corn based products both meat and processed food, are unhealthy and the cause of our increasing obesity and diabetes epidemics. The good news is that both the environmental and health issues can be solved by producing and consuming healthy food. Your committee must stop subsidizing high nitrogen need corn and high fat animal and high sugar/fat based processed food and start subsidizing locally produced vegetables and pasture based meat products. You should be supporting low chemical usage in all production. You should make it less cumbersome to qualify for the organic label, which has now been extended to dairy products. The label requires that these animals eat a minimum amount of grass, which produces a leaner animal, and which requires less nitrogen-based corn and less manure clean up. All confinement house manure must be processed.

We are fortunate to have 2 grass-based farms within 40 miles. Neither St Brigids in Kennedyville nor C&J farm in Seaford grow corn or use chemicals and they receive no subsidy while growing healthy food. Current government policy encourages the production of unhealthy food grown using large amounts of environmentally destructive chemicals and without controls on animal manure all of which is overwhelming aquifers and surface water and destroying water species. Congressman Kratovil is in a unique  position to change all of this in the 2012 Farm Bill and we wish him luck.

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