Letter to the Editor

Digesting the agricultural-pollution debate

Friday, December 2, 2011

To the Editor:

I've been watching the debates that surface every once in a while between industrial farming and those who think there might be a better way.

Recently I read Marian Harvey's open letter to President Clinton about his switch to a plant based diet, and the replies from Farm Bureau and Cameron Mann. (Banner Graphic 11/16/11, 11/18/11)

I did some research and found that Marian's opinion seems to be quite valid. There are undeniable links between modern farming practices and high levels of water, land, and air pollution. There are articles that anyone can read submitted by the World Health Organization, the National Institute of Health, and the Pew Charitable Trust, among many other independent studies that support her claims.

There is not one independent study that I could find that supports the claims of Farm Bureau.

Cameron Mann's claim that two percent of the population of the United States supports the food production of the country is true but one has to wonder if that is such a good thing. Weighing the positives and negatives I would have to say that a more diverse and labor-intensive way of farming for a larger portion of the population might just be the better route. It would create jobs for one thing.

A local farm that raised a more diverse crop could supply consumers with fresher, healthier produce than the non-local produce we are forced to buy in supermarkets.

Less concentrated, more natural, animal-raising methods could reduce or eliminate the use of antibiotics and growth hormones as well as reducing our dependence on chemical fertilizers by composting and using the manure from the animals.

The claim that modern industrial farming is sustainable is just not true.

Oh, and I refuse to be thankful that our children are dying of obesity rather than starvation as Putnam County Farm Bureau is. Especially since both are so easily preventable.

Jay Johnson