Friday, October 15, 2010

Transcript of a letter from Karen Himle

to Deans Levine and Durgin 

In re: Troubled Waters


Subject: Troubled Waters - A Mississippi River Story
From: Karen Himle
To: allen Levine
Cc: Todd Iverson
Dated: Mon Sept 6

Hi Al and Bev. I've just watched most of this piece funded by the Bell Museum (it froze up after the 49 minute mark). I have serious concerns about this, beginning with the title. Other than the fact of drainage and downstream nitrogen-based water quality degradation - which is an accepted fact - this piece has virtually nothing to do with the Mississippi River. Rather it seems to be an advocacy piece for organic farming combined with an anti-farm bill agenda.

Mainstream production agriculture is totally absent. I have been told it would take three times more tillable land wordwide to fulfill the demand for food if everyting becomes "organic."
I'm sure that Thousand Acres Cattle Company loves the advertising - they make an outstanding product - but the price is very high when compared with traditiional production practices.  That fact doesn't make it into the piece, of course.

I actually don't understand the point of this at all.
I was looking forward to a thoughtful analysis of the impact of ag practices on river water quality and the efforts to find alternatives to nitrogen and/or best management practices (and some of this is indeed present), along with something to do with riparian rights, etc. No farmer wants to buy more nitrogen than is needed - it is too expensive!

And what about balance in the piece on non-ag/non-point source pollutants -- there is about a nano-second devoted to municipal contributions to the problem.

No one will argue the algal bloom/sediment problem - these are facts - but there is so much more to this, of course.

I anticipate I'm preaching to the choir.
  Do either of you know the genesis of this? It clearly wasn't inexpensive to produce but yet lacks any balance - or actually a full analysis of the issue. And again, the absence of connection to the Mississippi River is remarkable.  I leave it to you to comment on the scholarship - but this layperson finds it lacking. I understand that this will air in October on the primary TPT channel before it moves to the Minnesota Channel. I would like to consider our options prior to that point as I anticipate a legitimately negative response to this from some sectors of our ag community.

Sorry for the long commentary.  I look forward to your replies!


This document basically speaks for itself.  Sad...


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