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magazine / oct11

October 2011 issue

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How wonderful to see this story on how to minimize overuse of nutrients in the environment. The application of the science and technology that allows producers to grow more with less benefits everyone. The adoption of zero and minimal tillage methods on the Prairies allowed us to survive one of the worst droughts in 100 years (yes including the dirty thirties) during 2003 and 2004 without having the farm blow away. The efforts of Dr. Lafond and all the researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and elsewhere should be commended. And thank-you to the producers who have adopted these technologies because they are willing to make these investments.

Submitted by Patricia Juskiw on Friday, October 21, 2011

OK! This sounds great. Good for the farmer and good for the consumer however not a mention...not a single word about the status of the natural bird and wildlife in the prairie. Farmers know what I am talking about. They know the birds since childhood. They really would like to be able to see them always and have their children know them but unless this space age GPS can also allow for the nests of ground nesting birds it is not creating life of grains, birds, bees and animals as equals. We cannot have one without the other. Our spirits as humans will die without the wild, fantastic beauty of birds and bees. We cannot survive in a world without birds and bees because we depend on them for our ecology. No Ecology no Economy. That is my saying for this is not sustainable. We are a mere ‘nano’ part of the ecology of this planet yet our intelligence allows us to devise plans that can overthrow ecology. We are so infatuated with ourselves that we forget the little creatures who may seem mere decorations at times but actually hold the King pin for survival. We cannot throw the baby out with the dish water! Forget to care for the creatures by giving them space to survive and we will be suffocating ourselves. Come on Canadian Geographic! All you all nerds or something worse.....profit oriented? Why isn't there a perimeter that keep habitat secure from roving unmanned tractors pulling what not around to rip and tear the earth to shreds. Once the prairie soil is tilled it will never be the same. Well we are too late to address that fact. We did up until twenty years ago maintain margins around fields and along roads which allowed birds to nest and the bird population managed to survive restricted to these tiny margins. Then with the MONSANTO system these margins were tilled and no fields lay fallow where birds might find food or nest.

I am so glad to hear of these amazing techniques that make farming less wasteful for farmers that they will realize higher yields and hopefully greater profits. Let us just not rush into this without a heart or common sense and not make space for the preservation of the birds. We can do both. With the greater knowledge of where plants will thrive there will be areas that could be left alone. Look at what the birds need. Many farmers know this. The grouse need small shrubs to hide their nests.

A little space and natural vegetation is all they require and perhaps some wet lands that may have been filled in over time. Let there be balance so we can make this earth that we love and depend on a better place for all living things.

Susan Collacott

Submitted by Susan Collacott on Sunday, October 9, 2011

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