LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Outside groups’ have a right to be heard

Worry less about 'weaponization of outside groups' and more about silencing people who will be affected by soil and water contamination.

Having read the Jan 30, 2020 article “Local farmer looks to limit 'weaponization' of outside groups,” we would appreciate the opportunity to respond.

It is laughable to deny that air, water and soil can travel beyond political boundaries. Silencing people downwind or downstream for being too contrarian is to claim the power to control nature.

No surprise to anyone who follows the Pineland Sands story: Some people have acted to keep large agribusiness immune from citizen concerns. This suggests either that they’re carrying sand for the RD Offutt Company (RDO), or they don’t know the alarming science around chemical-intensive irrigated agriculture and the problem-solving abilities of regenerative farming.

Many residents of the Pineland Sands Area have to filter their chemically contaminated drinking water (remember Park Rapids?) or drill deeper wells to regain access to a depleted aquifer. They endure exposure to contaminants from chemical-intensive irrigated row cropping.

Most farmers who currently use chemical-intensive methods have been comforted by chemical companies’ misleading claims that their products are safe. Petrochemical corporations are likely the worst violators of scientific truth-telling one can imagine.


Where is the proof? Start with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s township testing program. In one Wadena County township about 10 percent of the wells tested were unsafe to drink from. This figure is actually optimistic, considering that:

  1. Shallow wells are not included in the final data.

  2. Only 20-30 percent of well owners responded to water testing offers.

  3. The 10 ppm of nitrate in drinking water that the state allows has been shown to be far too high for human health.

  4. The chances of finding pesticides in drinking water rise with nitrate levels.

Contamination of drinking water is being found to be a huge problem anywhere industrial agriculture is prevalent – not just in Wadena County, the Pineland Sands Aquifer or Minnesota, but nationwide.
It is past time for our society to eliminate the use of petrochemicals as much as possible. We should be beyond the efforts by a few to obscure the knowledge and rights of the many.

As we move toward clean energy, forestry, and regenerative farming, the oil, coal, gas and nuclear interests become less intimidating and less necessary. The rebirth of local economies with small farms and electric micro-grids begins with the death of the chemical culture and import of foreign food. Our love and respect for family, neighbors and land can then become complete.

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