Taking care of nature

I found the letter “Man vs. Nature” (Voice of the People, Jan. 31) that Marvin Hughes wrote quite disturbing.

He writes about his slough’s habitat that has disappeared and directed the blame on the farm practices upstream from it. Definition of a slough is “a swamp — a mud hole.”

I guess he does not understand or remember that we have just suffered two of some of the worst droughts the last two years. The dry weather also has had a big effect on the honeybees, as wildflowers, weeds and other plants they need do not grow during the drought.

The honeybees are also presently affected by a mite that is killing their colonies.

The modified crops (GMOs) have enabled farmers to almost completely eliminate the use of insecticides. We used to treat our fields possibly three to four times with insecticides, when we had pest invading our crops. Now, we rarely have to do that.

The use of what pesticides we use today are in an ounce per acre and not pounds or gallons, like in the past. Today, I find more beneficial insects in my fields than ever and it is so much safer for the farmer and our environment than it has been in many years.

As to his comment about the 4- to 5-inch rain. Farmers use farming practices today that strive to keep as much moisture in their soils a possible.

If additional moisture has to come from irrigation, then the goal is to never let the soil profile become less than 60 percent depleted. Our soils hold about 2 inches per foot when 100 percent saturated. Thus, it has less than 1 inch of moisture capacity per foot left for absorption.

Pastureland has been almost completely depleted of moisture, thus it had the ability to absorb more moisture than cropland. It is unfortunate when heavy rains occur.

Also, only sand can infiltrate moisture at 8 inches per hour and Hughes implies that all of our soils have that capacity. The infiltration rate of silt loam soils in our area is less than 1 inch per hour.

So I would ask him, while with a full stomach of the most plentiful, healthful and cheapest food in the world, to find out just how much better the farmer is treating nature today than ever.

We have to. We want to keep feeding the world.

I’m proud to be a farmer who cares for nature.

Glen Wiens

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