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Letter to the editor

Columnist mistakes two farming styles

March 6, 2008

  The column on organic food was profoundly misleading.  Organic farmers are allowed to use man-made pesticides and are very deadly if ingested by humans. The use of manure in vegetable produce is dangerous, as it contains E. coli and other bacteria.

  The January 2007 issue of Consumer Reports found that organic chicken had 300 percent more salmonella than regular chicken. 

  The writer also says that conventional farming results in the loss of top soil, vitamins and nutrients.  This is the exact opposite of what you think.  Organic farmers are not allowed to use as many of the effective herbicides as conventional farmers; thus, they must use more tillage, which causes the loss of topsoil.  A conventional farmer may not need any tillage (no-till), but organic producers rely on cultivation as a means of weed control. This uses more fuel, resulting in many tons per acre of soil erosion.

  Organic foods are also not any more nutritious or better- tasting than conventional food. 

  Many environmentalists push for organics, all the while using more fuel and producing less food. We would have to plow under thousands of acres of forests and wildlife habitat to produce the same amount of food as we do now if every farm were to become organic.

Kevin Austin,
student