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SG-W:/ RE:Al Gore and Farms



Re Al Gore and Farms
 
     Al Gore is not a hero to me. However he is the only candidate that has worried abour Sustainability. Clinton-Gore tried to increase gas taxes, set aside public land,  and had a White House conference on Global warming. That is more than other candidates have done.
     I can't say much about the pesticide issue except to say that farmers should be encouraged to use less. Sooner or later we will be short of fertilizer. This means more farm land for legumes and more use of sewage.
Energy shortages will make biomass farming crucial but also will require more land.
     I am very much in favor of subsidizing agriculture but I think that rewarding farmers for not producing crops is not a good way to do it. I hope that taxes on farm land are eliminated. There should be huge taxes on development and houses in the country should pay taxes equal to city dwellers. Gasoline taxes could also mean less driving and more compact development.
      Farmers could be subdidized by giving them energy incomes. Alcohol from corn is not a very efficient way of producing energy. However improving process efficiency might help. Switchgrass has been touted as an energy crop which is more efficient. One program that I would like to see is one that would enable the farmer to grow enough energy to be self sufficient. Steam driven tractors are a possibility. Another program would be to subsidize the planting of fruit trees as hedgerows. This supplies some food, some wood, grows fence posts, and stops erosion even if the fruit is not a cash crop.    
Every pig and dairy farm should be surrounded by tillable land. All of the manure should be used to make biogas. The residues from the biogas tank  should be used to fertilize the land. The same statement applies to sewage processing. Every farm should produce energy rather than consume it.
      One way to subsidize farmers would be to form a CCC and then furnish excess labor to farmers for hedgerow planting and other onerous tasks. It is my belief that farmers should helped to form strong cooperatives. Marketing of farm products by farm cooperatives would increase farm income. Also farm coops could finance and write proposals for experimental projects which individual farmers could not do. One example is to pay farmers to research and administrate mass tree planting. Farmers could greatly enhance Sustainability by living in Ecomindiums and getting Federal money to finance energy projects around buildings. Farm apartment houses would be a way to increase farm income. One advantage of the corporate farm over the family farm is that the land is not sold when someone dies.
      One of the more important things that needs to be done is to subdidize the poor and elderly mostly by building low rent apartment buildings. This saves land, reduces the need for cars, and enables them to spend their money for groceries.
The important thing in all of this is to save the land from being built on because our children will need more and more of it in order to survive.
 
                                   Kermit Schlansker