The MOF&G Online
Dust Storms Return with Corporate Agriculture
To the editor:
Hey! Guess what? Yup, dust storms have returned to the Great Plains!
My cousin who lives in Hays, Kansas, sent me pictures of Hays, Wakeeney and Colby Kansas--not from 1930, but Memorial Day 2004--this year!
After the Dustbowl Days of the 1930s, the surviving small farmers took steps to prevent it from ever happening again. They limited field size and planted hedgerows to break the wind. They planted cover crops to hold the topsoil.
But the big corporate farms donít believe in such nonsense. Plus, with GE crops, they can douse the soil with herbicide and leave it completely bare and free of weeds. Ainít it great?
I was born and raised here [Kansas] but never saw dust storms such as this. But in the 1960s and 1970s I did see most small family farms get gobbled up by the big corporate farms.
The dust storms started [again] in the 1980s. One big one hit Salina, Kansas, for three days in 1985. Theyíve been getting steadily worse since.
Most big corporate farms are owned by groups of businessmen in Kansas City, New York, Chicago, even London, Tokyo and Saudi Arabia. They hire laborers (often illegal aliens) to plow and plant, and are only concerned with maximum profit. Also theyíre pumping groundwater to irrigate crops. The city wells of Hays went dry in 1979. Rivers my father swam in are now ankle deep and 4 feet wide (if not completely dry).
Be very thankful that big, corporate agriculture passed Maine by!
Way back in the Sept.-Nov. 2002 issue of The MOF&G, you featured an article about my homemade Whizbang Chicken Plucker and the planbook I wrote titled, Anyone Can Build a Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken Plucker. Thanks in part to your review, my self-published manual has sold over 1,000 copies. Hundreds of Whizbang pluckers are now at work in back yards and small farms all across the United States (and beyond).
The neatest thing about all of this is that so many people who were not raising their own meat birds now are. Thatís because processing the fatted fowl is no longer the nasty task it once was. Plucking chickens in a Whizbang is as easy as flipping a switch and watching the machine do all the work. Itís one of those things you have to see to believe.
The success of the Whizbang Plucker has led me to publish a newsletter called Pickiní Times and subtitled "Nifty Ideas & New Information For Whizbang Poultry Processors." If any MOF&G readers are interested, Iíd like to send them a free sample copy. I can be reached at Whizbang Books, PO Box 1117, Moravia NY 13118; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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