In Ogalla Aquifer country, the real threat is chemically-dependent agriculture

That’s the central premise of this nice op-ed I just spotted on the NY Times Web site. The author of it is correct. I saw the Nebraska countryside she writes about on many occasions while on reserve duty at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha.


One response to “In Ogalla Aquifer country, the real threat is chemically-dependent agriculture

  1. Old data does not jive with current practice in farm country.
    Atrazine is no longer the weed killer of choice. It has been highly regulated for many years, and is more expensive than some newer chemicals.
    Nitrites and nitrates come from many places, most of them natural, so blaming the farmer for nitrates and nitrites in water is not gong to work. There were nitrates in my well water before farmers started using modern nitrogen fertilizers
    Ethanol is not subsidized. Our government bribes oil companies so that they will use ethanol and thus hold down fuel prices for the consumer of all of that gasoline. Ethanol will continue to be used even when the bribery stops because it is needed in gasoline as an oxygenate. It helps to reduce the smog in our cities. When the government program promoting the use of ethanol in gasoline expires this next year you can expect gasoline prices to rise. Ethanol is keeping the gasoline price down by about 50 cents according to many state universities.
    Corn production in the U.S. is no longer subsidized. The higher prices paid for corn by the market in the last few years have made that subsidy obsolete.
    Right now the livestock industry needs that corn that uses the water from the ogalla aquifer. When it is gone the capacity to put meat on your table will greatly decline.
    Nitrates in water used to water corn does not matter to corn. Corn uses that nitrate nitrogen as fertilizer. Same goes for atrazine. Nitrates only matter to people and animals.
    The real threat to the ogalla aquifer is not from chemically dependent agriculture, but from over use of a finite resource by people. When the aquifer is gone, people will move and agriculture will adapt.

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