Conventional production systems that cover the land with monocultures of corn and soybeans have been a disaster for everything from grassland birds and waterfowl to amphibians and pollinating bees. In Apocalyptic Planet, Craig Childs describes being hard put to find even a couple of spiders and a toad while “camping” in an Iowa cornfield.
But innovators like McPeak and Meeker are proving that productive agriculture and wildlife can occupy the same piece of ground, and in some cases aren’t just tolerating each other, but are mutually beneficial. …
In 2012 researchers reported that bumblebees, which are key pollinators, preferred visiting cucumbers raised with compost as opposed to those fertilized with petroleum-based fertilizers, even though both soils contained the same amount of basic plant nutrients. The study concluded that non-nutritional factors such as microbial interactions might be making the composted cucumbers more bee-friendly.
Former DNR regulator raises concerns about runoff from large dairy operations - Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
An ex-regulator who oversaw pollution issues on Wisconsin farms says liquid manure from the biggest dairy operations is a threat to public health, and he now believes that the geology of some areas makes it too risky to spread more animal waste.
Gordon Stevenson, the former chief of runoff management at the Department of Natural Resources, predicted that Wisconsin’s largest farms generate so much manure that they will eventually be the source of large-scale contamination of groundwater.
Prescription Drugs Entering the Great Lakes at Alarming Rate
Only about half of the prescription drugs and other newly emerging contaminants in sewage are removed by treatment plants. That’s the finding of a new report by the International Joint Commission (IJC), a consortium of officials from the U.S. and Canada who study the Great Lakes.
More than 1,400 wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. and Canada discharge 4.8 billion gallons of treated effluent into the Great Lakes basin every day …
“Our vet is here a third of the time they’ve been on a conventional farm,” he [Jim Ideker] said. “You don’t need all the drugs once you do it right to begin with.”