Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Feds aim to clean up Amish farming practices

Sindya Bhanoo reports in today's New York Times on enhanced federal scrutiny of how Amish farmers manage agricultural runoff, including that from cattle. Here's an excerpt that explains how the practices of Amish farmers in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, are contributing to the pollution of Chesapeake Bay--and what the federal government is doing about it:
Runoff from manure and synthetic fertilizers has polluted the Chesapeake Bay for years, reducing oxygen rates, killing fish and creating a dead zone that has persisted since the 1970s despite off-and-on cleanup efforts. But of the dozens of counties that contribute to the deadly runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus, Lancaster ranks at the top.
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The challenge for the environmental agency is to steer the farmers toward new practices without stirring resentment that might cause a backlash.
Banhoo goes on to discuss the link between these farmers' religious history and beliefs and their long-standing distrust of government.

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