Letter to Maryland Governor

by

Dear Governor O’Malley

The documentary King Corn focused on only a few of the unintended consequences known at that time several years ago, caused by hi-starch content corn including hi-fat content hamburger and corn based high fructose corn syrup. It also showed the attitude of The American Farm Bureau toward time-consuming obstructions to operating their large equipment. Most of these obstructions have been removed including the homesteads of many small farmers forced out of business, most of the trees, hedgerows and wetlands creating an ecological desert devoid of wildlife. At the conclusion of the documentary the farmer Rich Johnson, who seemed like a nice guy, explained, “ we only focus on yield”.

You have made several proposals during your tenure as Governor which could be helpful in saving our natural resources and our health including septic system treatment, permitting chicken CAFO’s, and planting 20,000 acres of trees. After pushback by representatives of the American Farm Bureau Federation you seem to be backing off these proposals. Also the State’s response to the EPA-TMDL mandated reductions in nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment was a missed opportunity to make real pollution causing reductions and seems to me to be further pandering to the American Farm Bureau. In 2000 the American Farm Bureau was the leader against President Clinton’s effort to reduce fertilizer pollution of the Gulf of Mexico, thus reducing the State of New Jersey size oxygen dead-zone and massive water species destruction. The dead-zone continues to grow in size most years.

The Farm Bureau spokesman did make a good recommendation, which was to look at the full picture of land use before you decide that planting trees is a bad idea. This study should look at the full picture including farm field land use efficiency, soil, water, and air pollution and the health impact of pathogens, atrazine, ammonia, growth hormones antibiotics, arsenic and the food itself. There is more to this picture than just yield. The overall health of people and our natural resources in America should not be the sole purview of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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