Cross-posted from the blog — cman.
This is a good mantra for the times. Keep reciting it to yourself… Renewable is not a synonym for sustainable. Letter to the Editor of the Des Moines Register from Dale Shires of Iowa City.
One of my dad’s maxims was “never buy or sell hay.” Buying hay might bring in the seeds of weeds we had spent years trying to control; selling hay removed tons of nutrients without replacing it with commensurate manure.Thousands of years of unharvested prairie had built the rich silt loam. The first 75 years of diversified, value-added farming saw mainly livestock and livestock products leave a nearly-level farm, using no commercial fertilizer, yet with ever-increasing yields.
We began raising soybeans during World War II, rotating and covering about one-fifth of the acreage each year. By 1954, soil tests showed a need for phosphate fertilizer. (The southwest Iowa soils were high in potassium and we inoculated the beans for nitrogen fixation.)
The Ethanol Bubble — prices to $4.50 per bushel in February, I think we can begin to call it a Bubble — is on the rise. Even at the $3.70 or so price of last week, farmers willl sorely tempted to plant every last acre in corn. Never mind the fences or the marginal land, or the “green strips” or the CRP fields.
America’s farmers, ably abetted by America’s agribusiness interests and politicians seem perfectly willing to sacrifice the last few inches of world-class topsoil in order to extend the Age of Easy Motoring just a couple more years.
Also, check out The Exchange, (MP3 file) from Iowa Public Radio last week as Dennis Keeney, Senior Fellow at Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, cautions against irrational exuberance in renewables.
We need a sustainable, future-proof energy policy. Renewables and ethanol (from whatever source) are just a small part of the eventual solution.
How’s that $3.00 a gallon gas treating you?
Drive less. Ask your presidential candidates why they don’t have the courage to say so.