Where is the wildlife

Glen Wiens (Voice of the People, Feb. 4) and other farmers have responded to my letter that ran Jan. 31 in Voice of the People. As Wiens says, my article is quite disturbing.

It is supposed to be.

However the subject is not about an attack on agriculture, it is a question. My simple question is: Where have all the insects/wildlife gone? The bees, butterflies, wildlife, etc. not showing up is not just a rural event.

In Hastings, the insects no longer have a presence as they did 10 years ago. With irrigation in Nebraska, the insects and wildlife did not lose population for lack of water.

I am not the only one observing this matter. The following is an appropriate example.

Most of our monarch butterflies spend the winter near Mexico City. Until a few years ago, their haven occupied some 46 acres of forest; however, this winter less than 2 acres is needed for all the migrating monarchs.

Biologists have indicated at least two main factors for this huge drop in migrating monarchs:

1. Less natural environment in the U.S. and Canada. For example, pastureland being turned in tilled acres and farmed.

2. Virtual eradication of the milkweed plant by herbicides. Milkweed is the food supply that the monarch butterfly must have. Our Midwest corn belt is a critical feeding ground for the monarchs, which once found a ready source of milkweed growing between the rows of millions of acres of soybeans and corn. But the enormous use of herbicide-tolerant (GMOs) has enabled farmers to wipe out the milkweed, and with it much of the butterflies’ food supply.

Yes, this is just one example explaining, “Where have all the critters gone?”

But there is hope as most ag people are open to ways where they can feed people, make a profit and not diminish the balance of nature.

An example is Gabe Brown of Bismarck, N.D., a pioneering soul who uses no pesticides, no herbicides or commercial (synthetic) fertilizers. With only 15 inches of annual precipitation, his dryland corn makes 140 bushel per acre at the cost of $1.42 per bushel. He has counted an excess of 100 species of healthy plants in the pasture. Because his grain and livestock is organic, it commands a dollar premium to consumers. (This is a banker’s dream!)

A closing note on who demands food free of GMOs. It is the White House where our U.S. president resides. This has been the policy for the last three of our country’s presidents.

Does anyone wonder why?

Butch Hughes

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