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Rainy Thoughts from the Farm

As I drive the backcountry roads around our farm I’m saddened again to see the widespread farmland destruction that occurs during heavy rainfall events like the last few days. Thank you, Monsanto!

Gullies in fields where corn or beans were planted on a hillside. A grass waterway would have slowed the erosion. But no, every inch has to be planted to crop. Thank you, Monsanto!

All the low areas in the fields that only a couple decades ago were grass meadows, left there by our ancestors to help feed the livestock, are now tiled to take the water away faster, to the detriment of homeowners downstream. Those meadows acted like sponges slowing the water, and now most of them are gone. Thank you, Monsanto!

Thank Monsanto for breeding the genetically modified seed whose plants can withstand the weed killers that they also manufacture. These herbicides destroy the water holding capacity of the soil that helps control erosion.

I’ve often wondered how long society will tolerate this kind of soil loss. Will there be enough left for the generations following to be able to feed themselves?

There are other players in this scenario, such as the major grain companies who make their two bits for every bushel of grain produced. Of course all their lobbyists were there “helping” congress write the latest farm bill. The farm bill includes a provision called “prevented planting” payments when farmers can not get into the fields to plant because of rain and a disaster payment for areas that were once grass meadows and now are flooded.

As a grazer I should call for a “prevented grazing” payment for the pastures that are now flooded and silted from the erosion upstream.

I do empathize with the farmers that now have their hands tied and can’t get into the fields. Fortunately our cows are still grazing, thanks to the sod that has developed over twenty-plus years of rotational grazing. I hope the cows stay in, as some of our electric fences are under water and shorting out. We have an excellent crop of grass in our pastures, even though we can’t get to all of it.

Our bridge across Sand Creek is under water (click here to watch of video of the creek). We are about ten miles downstream from the head of our watershed, so in a matter of a few days the cows will be able to cross again and we’ll be “back in business”.