Archive for the ‘EPA Chesapeake Load Maps’ Category

Agreement W/Fisher some with the Farm Bureau

March 28, 2011

Monday’s 3/28/11 local Star Democrat front page reported on two very different points of view about the EPA mandated Chesapeake Bay TMDL program. Tom Fisher, a scientist at Horn Point Lab, who along with his students have monitored the sub watersheds of the Choptank River for several decades, have recorded a steady decline in water quality due to nutrient pollution mainly from over fertilization of farm fields but also from urban sources. He is quoted as saying that while we are finally on the right path after 26 years of futile effort he does not think that some of these (voluntary BMPs) are strong enough. The second article is a report on a presentation by The American Farm Bureau Federation describing the reasons for the organization’s lawsuit against EPA filed in PA District Court trying to stop the TMDL program. He is quoted as saying that farmers were doing enough and further they were concerned about passing their resources onto their kids. He also said that EPA was throwing someone under a bus and that we need to make decisions as a Nation.

This writer agrees with much of what was reportedly said. The TMDL is weak in that it is not addressing the issues directly but indirectly through questionable voluntary Best Management Practices (BMPs). Example: we should be reducing fertilizer application rates rather than hoping that cover crops possibly planted too late in various weather conditions will soak up excess nitrogen. We should use developed treatment systems to treat all CAFO manure rather than build housekeeping pads and manure storage sheds. We should follow the USDA’s minimal published standards for soil management. We should stop wasteful irrigation methods. Industrial Agriculture is a system created to produce only meat and sugar. The system is using up our topsoil and our fresh water and contaminating our air, ground water, and surface water. The products produced are the primary cause of major health problems for the Nation (see Cancer and Heart Disease archives). I agree with the Farm Bureau in that solutions should be mandated on a National basis. Farming practices in most areas of the Country are far worse than the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Is the Gulf of Mexico less important than Chesapeake Bay? How can grain farmers in the Bay watershed compete on a nonlevel playing field? Yes effective solutions will drive up the cost of meat and sugar but higher prices and less consumption will reduce health care cost and improve health, a National crisis.

 

Minnesota farmer fights Gulf ‘dead zone’

September 13, 2010

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.

Meat Eaters-Cheap Skates

April 20, 2010

When the EPA nutrient load maps came out last fall clearly showing the cause of Chesapeake Bay water quality decline, I thought that once a problem is so clearly defined a solution can not be far behind. Not so! The problem is far from a solution. I believe the reason is that most meat eaters are also cheap skates and will not pay a little more for grass fed meat and dairy. Why else would grass fed meat not be on supermarket shelves in the East allowing people to make their own choices. If you happen to live in Berkeley California this is not the case but so far the most affected Eastern States are far behind in presenting solutions. And of course when was the last time that Burger King advertised grass fed burgers.

I don’t mean to imply that the Chesapeake Bay watershed is the only area of the Country that is suffering the effects of CAFO meat production. Georgia, Arkansas, and Alabama produce more than double the number of chickens as Delmarva. The former grasslands of Eastern Colorado are now cattle CAFO’s. I have asked EPA to produce a Nationwide nutrient map which I will publish when available. In the meantime stay tuned to this site which will continue to identify grass farms and pasture based farmers  Don Kerstetter