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Gulf dead zone record size

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/08/gulf-mexico-hypoxia-water-quality-dead-zone/

 

First policy to address it would be a very robust program to pay for vegetative buffer strips on every single stream and ditch bank in the watershed. With cash corn approaching $3 in some places I think we can live with taking a million acres out of production. Sportsmen would seem the natural allies in support since in the last ten years we've finished off turning most of the Midwest into an agricultural desert. Unfortunately most of them have been huddled at the conservation club plotting on how to keep Obama from taking their guns.

 

Second would be a major program to rebuild urban sewer and wastewater systems, and septic systems. There would be very large numbers of jobs associated with that and, to a large extent, for males, and probably mostly white ones (since most Americans are white). 

 

Those would be in lieu of more draconian steps such as putting a tax on fertilizer nutrients in order to alter the economics. I'd prefer that it not go there but might suggest that would actually be profitable for farmers, particularly those on good ground. If we went that route I'd probably also beef up the CRP because there would be some acres that aren't profitable to farm with those sorts of price relationships. 

 

If we're going to have a large livestock industry (increasingly for export) the large operation model is a plus- because you can regulate it much more effectively.

 

 

24 Replies

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

BTW, as far as an infrastructure program to rebuild sewers and wastewater systems, the Federal government could put up half with the other half being paid by the users over time, through their rates, as they retire bonds.

 

The net effect of that isn't materially different than privatizing it- where the government pays up front through tax incentives and the users pay as the investors seek to optimize their investment.

 

The difference is only smoke and mirror budget games and payola.

BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

Minnesota is forcing buffer strips along ditches, but you can put a 66` or 99` in the CRP, I have for years now.  It helps for a driveway during harvest and you can drive straight over endrows and turn with the sprayer and park a tender trailer out there a good stand of bromegrass slows the muskrats down too. 

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

Mixed native grasses are better habitat although more expensive and slower to establish. 

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

The thing that isn't helpful is keeping it like a golf green so that the neighbors and landlords think it looks nice.

BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

I`d love to plant the fancy grasses and flowers, I honestly would.   However in the practical field a slow establishing grass or weak flower gets over run with thistle, if you`re limited with spraying 2,4-D and spot mowing then the county weed commissioner would be on your case for noxious weeds going to seed.   But I have some filter strips on peat soils that I kid you not will grow up to hemp and iron weeds 10 foot tall unless you chop in July or Aug after pheasant nesting.   I`ve found brome is the toughest most practical grass.  

AllenJwi
Senior Contributor

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

Why should the federal government pay anything towards fixing the problem? If you use it you pay for it simple as that.

It is getting to the point the whole world think the US is their local welfare office..

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

The alternative is that they can mandate it. Farmers are rather accustomed to cost sharing arrangements to achieve public goals.

 

One might make a similar argument about giving tax breaks for doing it privately (net the same) but somehow that strikes you guys differently -because you are easily manipulated lapdogs for the uber wealthy.

Canuck_2
Senior Contributor

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

If field runoff is polluting then why would the government need to pay for a filter strip?

Like all polluters it should be up to the farmers to remedy the problem not get paid by someone else to fix it.

 

Same with septic 'systems' which are not really systems at all but just a route to dump the waste into a water way.

 

A good measure for septic systems would be to require proof they were pumped every 5 years.

Re: Gulf dead zone record size

The farmers hate mandates and regulations and there's been some case law regarding property rights issues under US law, although that is ambiguous.

 

This is the gentlest, most farmer friendly way to go about it and is consistent with stuff we've done for a long time. No doubt the boyz can get together at the coffee shop and get worked up about the gubmint and their sad circumstances, though.

 

Likewise, a lot of those old towns and cities in the watershed simply don't have the money to meet a fairly stringent standard, regardless. 

 

In a lot of places it is more about storm sewers than sanitary sewers- which is cheaper to deal with.