Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Tue Nov 21 16:19:19 MST 2000

>What nonsense is this?
>"organic" farming means dscarding all the advances of the almost two
>centuries since Lawes and Gilbert began making "superphosphate" and
>institutes the Rothamstead Research station.

Look, if you are going to have any credibility you have to at least give
lip-service to the downside of all these "benefits" of industrial farming.
When I read your posts, I have the eerie feeling of being transported back
to 1954 before Rachel Carson wrote "Silent Spring".

Technological breakthroughs in agriculture accelerate production but at
huge and possibly fatal costs to the environment. The Worldwatch Institute
identifies fertilizer and cheap transportation as the main culprits.

Cheap transportation makes it possible to separate the ranch and the feed
supply from each other across huge distances, even overseas. This means
that while it can be profitable to locate a cattle ranch, poultry or hog
farm near large metropolitan markets, the organic waste the animals produce
is not easily recyclable. Most of these animals are not raised on the open
range, but in huge buildings where excreta flows from the pens into drains
that lead to rivers or underground water supplies.

In Europe, for example, the livestock industry purchases feed from Brazil,
Thailand or the USA. But the industry has outgrown the capacity of nearby
lands to absorb the manure. The Netherlands was home to a 40 million ton
mountain of cowshit earlier in the decade. Coupled with heavy fertilizer
use, the end result has been a serious pollution problem.

The same problem exists in the US, especially in North Carolina. Farmers in
the Corn Belt produce grain for chickens and hogs in the eastern seaboard
state, but the waste product is not recycled. It is dumped in the state's
rivers and lakes. The EPA estimates that 25% of all water pollution in the
USA comes from such sources. In North Carolina, over 6 major spills from
farms into public waters were reported in 1995. In one case, 95,000 cubic
meters of waste was involved, enough to fill more than 60 Olympic sized
swimming pools.

To keep up with the demand for livestock feed, single-crop farmers in the
Midwest turn to intensive, industrial farming that makes heavy use of
inorganic fertilizers. These substances leak into rivers, lakes and bays
with disastrous results to fish and other wildlife. The report states that
"So extensive is the agricultural pollution of the Mississippi River--the
main drainage conduit for the US Corn Belt--that a 'dead zone' the size of
New Jersey forms each year in the Gulf of Mexico, the river's terminus."
The increased vegetation that the fertilizer produces has killed vast
stocks of shrimp and other valuable fish.

If you are serious about your beliefs, Paddy, you will have to stop
pretending that these problems do not exist.

Louis Proyect
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