Water Summit

Change agriculture - an overview

The biggest water problem is the way Americans do agriculture. Giant corporations own giant farms, which are farmed with extensive use of irrigation water and chemicals, depleting soils, creating disease, destroying pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Subsidies, regulations, and tax structures encourage them. Solution:

Support transition to crops requiring less water and fewer chemicals.

Increase support for cover cropping and riverside buffers – including help for small farmers and mandates (including significant fines) for large farmers.

Strongly support transition to organic methods, preferably permaculture, which involve fewer chemicals and protect soils. (Research data supports this as a helpful change.)

Support transition to smaller farms which can be managed more closely, and owner-occupied farms where the farmer has a natural incentive to take care of the land.

Support changing animal agriculture to holistic systems, with examples by Allan Savory, Joel Salatin, and The Main Street Project here in Northfield, Minnesota. Research supports that these methods are both beneficial and profitable.

Transition farm subsidies, zoning, and tax structures to support all the above.

Change regulations to provide a level playing field for small farms, which are being put out of business by requirements such as notifying the government every time an animal is moved – taken to the vet, for example – while large farms can deal with units of 100. The diseases endemic to giant CAFOs are practically irrelevant to small farms practicing healthy practices.

Many specific ideas have been submitted that are consistent with these comments, but I would like to offer a core organizing principle.

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Idea No. 218