Forty years ago, farm neighbors told my surprised family that our wildlife friendly farming practices were organic – which doubled the value of our rice crop. Our farming methods evolved after my father-in-law’s return from World War II. Like many peers, he tried new technologies – chemical pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizer – and saw them kill the wildlife he loved and the soil he relied on. He sensed that a food system based on toxic chemistry was a dead end. Instead, he developed an approach that incorporated wildlife – instead of fighting it.
In his recent Your Turn column, Alexander Schriener wrote that we need to focus on viable solutions for the ailing Salton Sea. I’d like to address some of the points made in that column.
“The Salton Sea is going through the natural evolution …,” Schriener wrote. There is nothing natural about farm chemicals. This is an intensely farmed region where the preferred means of disposing of these toxins is to use half as much water as the irrigation required simply to flush these chemicals into the sea, two or three times a year for over 100 years.