|Craig A. Cox|
What are some farmers doing, things that many more could do, to prevent soil erosion and water pollution? What are some the trends in agriculture — rapidly rising commodity prices, soaring land prices and cash rent payments to non-farmer land owners, a huge demand for corn for ethanol production — that threaten to increase pollution and erosion? And how should the federal Farm Bill be rewritten to encourage and reward conservation?
About 200 people turned out Feb. 24 to hear Craig A. Cox of the Environmental Working Group address those questions in a lecture at the University of Minnesota.
The lecture, titled “Taking the Pollution out of Agricultural Production,” was sponsored by the Freshwater Society and the university’s College of Biological Sciences.
After the lecture, Cox was joined by a panel of Minnesota water experts, who responded to his comments and — with him — responded to questions from the audience.The panelists were: Dave Frederickson, the Minnesota agriculture commissioner; Gyles Randall, a University of Minnesota soil scientist; Brad Redlin, national director of agricultural programs for the Izaak Walton League; Tony Thompson, a corn and soybean farmer and ardent conservationist from Windom; and Aimee Witteman, program officer for the McKnight Foundation’s Environment Program.