Minnesota farmer fights Gulf ‘dead zone’

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As with all unions the most militant and loudest members often using intimidating tactics become the leaders. Farmers including grain farmers are defying the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Corn Growers Association and The Fertilizer Institute and standing up for farming practices that will help stop the destruction of soil and water nationwide. Recently 65 Maryland Farmers petitioned the Governor to continue his aborted effort to clean up CAFO manure. The book Animal Factory by David Kirby describes efforts of farmers throughout the Country who are actively opposed to the CAFO animal production system. Three of our oldest agronomy and soil societies representing 11,000 scientists and teachers sponsored the book ‘Grasslands, the future of sustainable agriculture’. But the attached story, which is heartening to those of us who understand the primary cause of the terrible destruction of our soil and water resources, was reported by CNN. A grain farmer from Minnesota, whose family had worked the land since 1878, realizing that his tilled farming methods were destroying species in the Gulf of Mexico 1200 miles away decided to quit farming. He later changed his mind after consulting with scientists and making changes in the way he farmed. The article Minnesota farmer battles Gulf ‘dead zone’ also points out that the cause of the annual dead zone is mostly fertilizer from the Mississippi Watershed which drains 40% of the US land area. This year’s deadly oxygen starved area is among the largest in history larger than the State of New Jersey. Unused fertilizer along with CAFO manure causes the annual dead zone in the main stem of the Chesapeake Bay. The nutrients and sediment are conveyed from the Pennsylvania hog and dairy corridor down the Susquehanna Ricer. The rivers of the Eastern Shore convey most of the nutrient and sediment from the Corn and chicken CAFO corridor that extends from Lancaster Pennsylvania down the Delmarva Peninsula. These major pollution sources clearly show on the EPA nutrient load maps for Chesapeake Bay, which can be found archived on the right hand margin of our website blog.

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