Letter to the Editor: Vigilance Urged in Water Quality Fight

We have been hearing a lot about soil-health management. Farmers are talking about cover crops, setbacks, no-till fields, just to name a few. What you have to understand is this: Building new topsoil will take hundreds of years. Some say more than 100 years per inch; others use a much longer time frame. 

Either way, this is a very long time for our polluted-water issues. We are living with water conditions found in developing nations. Why? As long as the liquid-manure model is still producing hundreds of millions of gallons per year, and it will be spread onto and into our land, we will not solve the water-quality issues. Does anyone believe that one inch of topsoil will make that big of a difference?

Yes, we have made some progress, but things will be getting worse with more animals and fewer fields. People are saying no to farmers who want the land for spreading their liquid manure. 

Creating new laws and regulations alone will not solve these problems. We need enforcement and fines – two very critical parts of the solution. We the citizens must stay vigilant and active, attend the meetings, ask the questions. Your elected officials work for you. Keep the pressure up, and things will change.

It’s time. Farming knows what it must do. My question is this: How much new topsoil will you need to create in order to fix the water pollution? One foot? Five feet? How much? 

Dick Swanson

Algoma, Wisconsin