Evidence indicates extremists are out to hamper agriculture

Are extremists in the environmental movement really concerned about the welfare of our animals, the quality of our water and conserving our planet, or are they trying to change the world to fit their own image? Listening to their agendas and following their actions, there is little doubt such extremists are hell-bent on eliminating animals in production agriculture. Referendums like those in California, Ohio, Missouri and other states by well-funded animal rightists are taking direct aim at the rights of farmers and ranchers who raise, care for and sell farm animals. You can bet the farm on it?environmental extremists from various groups have played a role whenever new water quality standards are proposed. Last fall, EPA announced it was beginning a comprehensive new evaluation of the pesticide atrazine to determine its effect on humans. At the end of this process, EPA will decide whether to revise its current risk assessment of the pesticide and whether new restrictions are necessary to protect public health. Atrazine is the most important herbicide in soil-saving growing practices such as no-till and conservation tillage. Farmers use atrazine to control weeds on about two-thirds of this country?s corn and sorghum acreage. EPA is also looking at controlling dust on the farm and herbicide and insecticide spraying drift. Dust is part of farming?it always will be?and careful spraying of crops is essential to continue producing yields necessary to feed this country and the world?s people. With wise and prudent stewardship, Mother Earth can sustain man and create a desirable living environment with wholesome, abundant food for all. Anyone with a conscience is interested in making sure our soil, water and air remain in the best condition possible. We all must eat, drink and breathe. It only makes sense to conserve our resources and preserve the environment in which we live. Not only do some of these zealots want to tell us how to use the land, they want to take it, too. They would like to see the federal government buy land then allow individuals to use such property. Our government has always managed land in a trust relationship for all the people of our country. Not all of the federally-managed land is in the best condition. Plenty of questions remain unanswered concerning wildfires burning hundreds of thousands of acres in the hot, dry West. For several years now, a movement has been afoot to take government-controlled land back into private ownership. This same trend seems to be happening in other places around the globe, including the former Soviet Union. There is no way government can take better care of the land than individual owners. Individuals with a vested interest in property will always care for it better than people who have no ownership. Landowners object to people who wave the environmental flag, then call upon the federal government to secure tracts of land for them without payment. To ask for land without payment is no better than thievery. These groups should have to pay in the marketplace like everyone else. Once they are required to buy their land, they will have to find ways to offset the costs that come with ownership. Without a doubt, most people in this country are tired of government taking care of them. We, as Americans, should take back our government from the politicians and bureaucrats. But in order to do so, this means we must participate in the process?if we aren?t already doing so. The struggle to maintain our freedoms and safeguard our property continues. We must persevere. John Schlageck is a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas. Born and raised on a diversified farm in northwestern Kansas, his writing reflects a lifetime of experience, knowledge and passion.

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