Saturday, September 16, 2006

CSIF pulling a Clinton


No, no one named Monica is involved, but it appears that the Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers, a tool of the Farm Bureau, Pork Producers, Cattlemen, and Poultry groups here in Iowa, is trying to take over the term "sustainable" when defending confined animal livestock operations, or CAFOs.

Now, up to this point, the term "sustainable" has been used in agriculture as practices that do not pollute and destroy the environment, conserve soil and nutrients, reduce inputs, and overall, can continue from one generation to the next. Some would called these low input, some might say they are backwards, but at least there is an established definition for it in agriculture.

So, Aaron Putze of the CSIF is now trying to co-opt the term, just like Clinton did of various issues, for the advancement of his own talking points.

Describing a CAFO as "sustainable" is like Clinton saying he didn't have sex with Monica - the opposite is true, but they attempt to be slick enough to get their way on the issue.

A CAFO is the antithesis of sustainable; how long could hogs survive in a confinement without A) propane to keep buildings warm in the winter, B) feed being brought to them by petroleum burning trucks, C) antibiotics to keep the pigs from getting sick, D) manure applicators to haul away their excrement, E) electricity to ventilate the hogs and keeping them from suffocating, F) a rural water supply pumping water to the pigs and to flush the manure, and G) a revolving labor crew to keep everything together? How sustainable is a system that depends on so much outside input?

Now, I realize in order to produce our food and fiber for our growing world we need to utilize our resources, even if some of them are not renewable. The type of farming I practice uses non-renewable fuels and inputs, I'll admit; it's not sustainable in its current situation, but at least I understand this, and am attempting to reduce inputs and produce my own when I can. I don't think anyone is labeling our current society as "sustainable"; we can "sustain" it for a while, but not indefinitely.

Check with people like Practical Farmers of Iowa or the Leopold Center about what "sustainable" is, and you'll find a very different definition than what Aaron Putze is saying.

5 Comments:

Blogger Jordan said...

Pulling a Clinton sounds like something your mother would tell you if you don't stop doing, you'll go blind.

6:47 AM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger noneed4thneed said...

I would love to hear your thoughts on the Sec of Ag race. I am not an expert on farming issues, but have really like what Denise O'Brien has said (and done througout her career) about sustainable agriculture.

I also have linked to you on Century of the Common Iowan.

11:32 AM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Thanks for the link to your page. I'll include you on my page.

I switched from R to D to vote for Fallon and O'Brien this spring. This fall, I'm not certain. I like a lot of what Denise has to say, but Bill Northey has a lot of experience, especially with value added. I like them both. I don't think either would do a bad job.

12:36 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger noneed4thneed said...

I am afraid that with Northey's background with the Corn Grower's Association, he will only invest in ethanol. I think ethanol is only part of the answer when it comes to Renewables. When talking about renewable energy, wind, solar, biodiesel, and many other new techonolgies need to be part of the puzzle.

10:14 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger noneed4thneed said...

I am afraid that with Northey's background with the Corn Grower's Association, he will only invest in ethanol. I think ethanol is only part of the answer when it comes to Renewables. When talking about renewable energy, wind, solar, biodiesel, and many other new techonolgies need to be part of the puzzle.

10:14 PM, September 17, 2006  

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