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E-M:/ Fixing Marine Dead Zones in Michigan ...

Enviro-Mich message from Lowell Prag <lprag@mail.msen.com>


The below is an abstract of a report from the Rodale Institute and is all
the more reason why mandated composting facilities in Michigan, should be
part of the cost of operating CAFOs and other such large operations that
are spreading raw manure sludge, in order to stop the nitrogen runoff.

It also provides a reason for Michigan to fully promote composting for
all farming operations, as compost can also wean us from the over use
of petrol/chemical derived fertilizers which is another major source of
the nitrogen runoff.

If Michigan can provide such programs as The Michigan State Housing
Development Authority which provides low cost loans for home purchases,
entirely through the sale of bonds and at no cost to the taxpayers, why
can't a similar program be initiated solely to help our farmers develop
sustainable agricultural practices?

Complete data on the below abstract:


Lowell Prag

   For Immediate Release
   August 11, 2004 Contact:
   Michael Straus
   Michael@StrausCom.com, (415) 777-1170
   Press Room: www.StrausCom.com/rodale

                Farmers and Fishermen Fix Marine Dead Zones
     New study shows that organic agriculture counteracts environmental

   Chesapeake Bay, Maryland New research released today by The Rodale
   Institute® (TRI) and funded by the Pennsylvania Department of
   Environmental Protection (DEP) shows that by composting manure,
   farmers can significantly improve the quality of water entering the
   nations watersheds.

   Based on a decade-long study, the report, Water Agriculture and You,
   demonstrates that compost provides optimum nutrient levels for crop
   growth while simultaneously minimizing non-point nutrient pollution of
   ground and surface waters.

   Organic farming can help prevent dead spots in the Gulf of Mexico, and
   prevent the algae blooms that choke off the crabs, clams and fish of
   the Chesapeake, said Anthony Rodale, chairman of the Institute.
   Estuaries from the Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf of Mexico are so
   polluted from upstream nutrients as a result of conventional
   agricultural practices that they are often incapable of sustaining
   aquatic life.

   Last year, one of the worst dead zones on record, stretching 150 miles
   from Baltimore to the York River in Virginia, killed crabs and fish in
   the Chesapeake Bay Estuary.

   According to analysis from The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), the
   bay is currently functioning at only 23 percent of its original
   quality and productivity. Primary causes of the bays critical
   condition are nutrients and suspended solids from conventional
   agriculture. Three areas cited as being responsible for more than half
   of all agricultural nutrients making their way to the Chesapeake Bay
   are Lancaster, Pa., Rockingham, Va., and the central Delmarva

   Widespread use of agricultural conservation practices is essential to
   improving the health of local rivers and streams, and ultimately to
   restoring the Chesapeake Bay, stated Kelly ONeill, CBFs agricultural
   policy analyst.

   The Rodale Institute® research also documents that the use of organic
   farming practices reduces agricultural water pollution by up to 75
   percent, improves quality in surface and ground waters, and benefits
   water quality in downstream marine environments.

   Improvements in soil organic matter levels under organic farming
   systems have also been shown to increase water penetration and
   retention in the soil by up to 50 percent, increase crop yields in dry
   years, improve ground water recharge rates, and reduce soil erosion
   compared to conventional corn and soybean row cropping.

   The United Nations Environment Program recently released a report
   outlining the rapid growth of dead zones worldwide, threatening 21st
   century fish stocks. Agricultural impacts on water resources have
   become major local, regional, national and International issues as
   recognition of their importance and impacts spread.

   Innovative partnerships, such as that between the Pennsylvania
   Department of Environmental Protection and The Rodale Institute, which
   produced the new report, provide practical ways to balance
   agricultural productivity with environmental needs.

   Editors: please visit www.StrausCom.com/rodale for:

     Press release, Research, copies of Water Agriculture and You

     Charts, diagrams and photos available for reprint

     Experts and Researchers available for interviews


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