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.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ag Harassment Of Generous Urban Subsidy In The Face Of Crystal-Clear Ag Abuse Of Soil and Water

[Your 2 Cents Worth, #11, Des Moines Register]:

To the farmer who complained about Des Moines waste--municipal waste is regulated and treated at customer expense.  Farm pollution isn’t.  And we Urbanites generously subsidize your crop insurance.  You don’t subsidize our insurance.

[and farmers,
you don’t subsidize our water treatment to remove your pollution, and you don’t regulate your farm chemical application, 
nor do you permit monitoring of application as you deem it as intrusive rather than information to both understand what and where the problem is, 
nor do you support legislation to require buffers zones or clear practices such as tilling that have been demonstrated to reduce chemical runoff and soil loss and you actively resist such legislative efforts, and you have supported legislation for criminal prosecution of whistle-blowers who would report animal abuse in factory farms, Kinseth]

Agriculture is beautiful, allowing time for human advancements, but Iowa Ag is caught in a whirlpool of industrialization where there are few options.  Everything is mono-ag and massive and chemically-driven even though we live in the best soil and water environment for ag.  So you got love ag, but  you gotta despise Iowa ag if you care at all about local water and soil, continental impact on sea/oceans, and, finally, feeding the world, from which Iowa ag has stepped so far away.  Iowa ag is chemical pollution--like sewage--all for a $$$ to survive--yes, to try to survive in the industrial ag model that has become the norm-- rather than ag tht “feeds the world.”

[and farmers. you have destroyed vast wetlands, Kinseth, and you do not car or feel any responsibility (not to mention the impact on the underlying aquifer] ...

Des Moines Register, Letter to the Editor, 5/9/2017 
Dan Heissel .Wetlands are an important Iowa resource

For 27 years, May has been designated as Wetlands Month. Wetlands provide habitats for wildlife to build their homes and provide shelter for their young. Iowa’s wetlands are particularly important because a majority of our endangered species live in wetlands.

Wetlands are among the most valued but least understood of Iowa’s natural resources. The cycling of nutrients and energy of the sun meet here to produce ecosystems. More than 1,200 species of plants live in wetlands, where they clean the water supply and reduce flood risks. 

Unfortunately, wetlands are often viewed as wastelands, drained and used for other purposes such as farmland. It is estimated that Iowa has lost more than 90 percent of its original wetlands. Because of this, a nonprofit organization has been set up to help restore lost wetlands in the state, the Iowa Agricultural Mitigation, which works with landowners to restore prior converted wetlands.

We will face many consequences if wetlands continue to disappear. Water may not be as clean for recreation and flooding will become more frequent. Wildlife populations will suffer.

How can you celebrate wetlands this month? Check with your local parks to see if they have scheduled events. Find a wetland in your area and take a walk. Rent or borrow a canoe or kayak and paddle through a wetland. 

We encourage you to get out this month and enjoy Iowa’s wetlands. You can learn more about wetlands and how to establish one at


Your 2 Cents Worth, Des Moines Register, 7/12/2017:

If we started a new policy of only giving insurance subsidies to farmers who do good conservation, we’d see clean-water farming incerase with dazzling speed.  Instead, we pay for dirty-water farming
--Only three percent of rowcrops have cover crops, so pathetic!

[Kinseth: Yes, “good conservation,” but what is that???  Still tiling the land, that is increasing today?  What is the chemical reduction or is that the same---fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides?  I s there a financial cost related to the amount of fertilizer that is used on the most fertile land in Earth?  Ag-pro political groups argue that Iowa farmers are already doing a wondrous conservation job.  No sane or sane-rational person will buy such B.S.  Farmers in Iowa today are killing the Earth.  They cannot afford not to in the ag model that rules the midwest.]

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