Coming from Arkansas, I'd have thought Mr. Oelschlaeger [“Corn problematic as renewable resource,” May 23 issue, Page 9] would have been more supportive of the farming community and not such a chicken-little about what potentially may happen.
As anyone even vaguely familiar with today's agriculture knows, major efforts have been taken (and continue to be taken) to reduce/eliminate soil erosion; and they're paying off. Reductions are being seen in controlled areas formerly devoid of foliage that are now teeming with growth and preventing further erosion.
And if Mr. Oelschlaeger is going to go back a mere 500 years for comparison, he should not confuse soil erosion with soil redistribution. The fertile fields that produced the food that filled his stomach were created by soil that once partially formed the mountains and hills that now surround those fields. Mankind's aggressive building practices and continuing greed are the cause of the soil erosion, not the farmer.
Yes, I know it takes gas and oil to move a tractor. But if you have no fields to plow because you've covered them with shopping malls and houses, and your produce is now 100 percent brought into the country from foreign lands, you won't need that tractor, or people to make them, or people to operate them. Where does Mr. Oelschlaeger propose to get the gas if the price is so high no one can afford to buy it because they have no jobs to pay for it?
Living in a farming area myself, I'd be more than happy to show Mr. Oelschlaeger 20 clear farm streams for every one of his brown streams. His claim doesn't hold water; and Arkansas has enough good trout streams through farms that he should know better. And having family in Arkansas, I'll even come there and show him in his own state.