Letter to the Editor of The Western Producer, Re: Sustainable agricultural policies will soon land in farmersʼ laps

Wide Responsibility by Nielle and Howard Hawkwood, May 9, 2013, The Western Producer

Re: “Sustainable agricultural policies will soon land in farmersʼ laps”, April 11, 2013

So, huge multinational food companies are starting to realize that the consumer wants sustainably raised food. Well, the responsibility for this cannot rest only on the farmersʼ shoulders, even if it does land in our laps.

It was mentioned that a supply of fresh water is necessary for healthy food production. We are faced with an oil and gas industry, using high pressure horizontal hydraulic fracturing techniques, that contaminates millions of liters of fresh water for each of its wells and pushes it deep underground, never (we hope!) to return to the surface. And there are hundreds of these wells.

We are asked to reduce the use of chemicals and fertilizers. We can certainly do that; however, we have no control over the dangerous chemicals that are spewed over our landscape or leaked into our water by this industry.

Healthy and productive soil will be needed for sustainable agriculture to flourish, but each year, tens of thousands of acres of farm land are taken up by oil and gas installations. Studies have shown that this land can never be fully reclaimed.

So perhaps those CEOs of the food giants should look over their investment portfolios and start attending some oil and gas stockholdersʼ meetings. Maybe that is the appropriate direction for some of the push. Farmers can do only so much. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

EnCana heavy waste dumping November 2012

Slide from 2005 EnCana drilling waste and frac fluid study at Suffield, Alberta

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