Regulating farmers' right out of business Maryland...


April 04, 1999

Regulating farmers' right out of business

Maryland and American farmers are a part of the most efficient agriculture system in the world. Unfortunately, this system has been slowly eroding, and American agriculture is at a crossroads.

Maryland farmers are about to be regulated on nutrient management. They are way ahead of other industries in this technology, even ahead of the people who are about to start regulating them.

Regulation can stimulate solutions to various problems. It is what prompted three companies to suggest pelletizing chicken manure from the Eastern Shore so that it may be turned into renewable resources, such as lower-analysis organic fertilizer that can be used in other areas that need the nutrients. Also, some farmers are using yield monitors in their combines, and other technology to monitor nutrient management.

Farmers work closely with their soil conservation districts by installing best management and conservation practices. They work closely with the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension-College Park and the county field offices throughout the state.

The agriculture industry is also way ahead on environmental issues and conservation farming. Monsanto has the Roundup Ready Soybean and Corn Technology, which is being expanded to many other crops. This is exciting because farmers will be able to apply fewer chemicals, or even only one chemical, which has a good reputation for being relatively safe to the environment when used correctly. Also very exciting: Insect resistance can be built into corn or other crops and the farmers won't have to apply chemicals to eliminate these pests that rob profits and food.

Our beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb and other meats go through the strictest inspections in the world. Other nations' products are allowed to be exported to our country with methods that would shock the public. Fruit and vegetables from South America and Mexico are sprayed with chemicals our government outlawed 20 years ago.

Farmers have had to live on the same 3-cent profit on a box of corn flakes that they got in the 1960s. If Maryland keeps losing farmers at the current rate, we should be prepared for worse scenarios for the Chesapeake Bay.

When forests are cleared for urban uses and you have 100 people spraying and applying chemicals on their lawns, it is much harder to control nutrients and toxins.

Pavement and parking lots are an even greater nightmare with all the toxics that come off of automobiles. Most go directly into streams, creeks, rivers and the bay.

The wrong people are being regulated. Maryland is going to be a terrible place to live -- one large metropolis of shopping centers, industrial centers and luxury homes with 2-acre lawns no one can eat. Maryland has benefited from the people who feed us and our economy.

Tim Heckert, Westminster

Praise for Senate on abortion limit

The Sun article of March 27 ("Senate passes abortion limit") highlights how blinded and uninformed Gov. Parris N. Glendening, many legislators, the pro-abortion lobby and many citizens are concerning the abortion procedure ban passed by the Maryland Senate March 26. The "late-term abortion procedure" has been correctly called the partial-birth abortion by the informed.

The procedure requires a breech-birth delivery in which the feet emerge first. Only by reversing the position of the infant -- a breech birth -- do abortionists sidestep this being unquestionably murder.

The Senate is to be commended. I hope that the House of Delegates will come to the same level of reason.

John Clark, Mount Airy

Pub Date: 4/04/99

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