In late summer, I would swim and stream-walk a small section of the Raccoon River. While sedimented for decades now, the water was clear in the shallows. For a few years now, the water is pea-green from edge-to-edge. For decades and worse now, this water has strongly contributed to a vast hypoxia zone in the Gulf.

In the 1980s, I wrote about the wisdom of the river, focusing on the Des Moines River as a living, very open metaphor for the essential streaming dynamic of the universe that is within us as well in the streaming of our body metabolism and thought.

Monday, October 24, 2016

"Required" Works; "Voluntary" Is Laughable

Your 2 Cents’ Worth excerpts, Part 4 [various readers submissions/ Des Moines Register]: 

To the commenter who said, “Our Iowa farmers put food on your table”: 
Much of Iowa agriculture puts ethanol on cars, cheap pork on foreign tables 
and massive pollution in Iowa lakes and rivers.  And taxpayers subsidize the 
crop insurance.


To “Sick of anti-ag activist groups”: So far, Iowa row crop agriculture
remains unregulated, and for every farmer who is doing good conservation, 
there are forty farmers who aren’t.  I wish those so-called “anti-ag activists groups” 
were more successful.


You don’t have to fertilize your lawn in Des Moines, just water it with city water.
We have plenty of fertilizers thanks to the runoff in the rivers.


The Detroit River is amazingly cleaner than when I was a child there 50 years ago, and the main reason is because manufacturers were required to reduce pollution.  “Required” works.  “Voluntary” is laughable.

The fairest method for measuring Iowa water progress is to compare the amounts and kinds of farm conservation called for in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy with the amounts and kinds of conservation actually being used by farmers.  Guess why farm groups hate that method.
--They prefer to measure “farmer interest” in conservation


We could have done a lot of water-protecting, soil-saving, pollinator-helping farm conservation with the hundreds of millions that Branstad handed that Egyptian fertilizer plant.  Instead, farmers got cheaper fertilizer that will end up in our lakes and rivers.


I know several farmers who deserve and get my thanks for their yummy grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, good conservation, etc.  But the idea that every farmer deserves thanks is ridiculous.  Why thank farmers who bulldoze woodlands, rowcrop steep hills, and plant corn right next to creeks?
---Rural Iowa Senior

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