Letters to the Editor

April 19, 2013

America needs farmland more than an airport

OSKALOOSA — Letter to the editor:

If you live in the Middle East, your valuable resource is oil. If you live in South Africa, your valuable resource is gold and diamonds. If you live in Iowa, our valuable resource is our topsoil. It is the lifeblood of our communities and without topsoil, we have nothing. We do our best to be good stewards and preserve the soil for future generations. Sacrificing hundreds of acres so a few people can have their toys more conveniently located is a losing trade for most of us short term and all of us long term. According to the USDA, tillable acres in America over the last 80 years have dropped from 375 million acres to 325 million acres due to economic development. We continue to lose over 500,000 acres every year to housing developments, shopping mails and even airports. For the state of Iowa, the loss is just as disturbing. The Iowa State Extension Service says that between 1988 and 1998, Iowa lost 314,719 acres to non agriculture purposes. That is about 28,000 acres per year. The data is not as current as I would like, but the trend is not likely any different. We are losing the equivalent of 28 farms of 1,000 acres each from the Iowa landscape every year. This is a disturbing trend that cannot go on forever. It is the responsibility of this generation to prevent the reckless destruction of our most valuable resource.

Steve De Cook

Johnston (formerly from Leighton)

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