Re: “The Politics of Poop“ series:
Farmers have applied manure to their crop fields as long as there have been animals and crops.
Livestock manure is often used to build and maintain soil fertility, but it may also be used to improve soil tilth, increase the soils water holding capacity and reduce wind and water erosion, according to the MSU Extension Bulletin. Manure applications, however, may also cause surface and groundwater pollution if mismanaged.
The same benefits and detriments can occur with the application of septage sludge to farm fields if mismanaged. After all, human manure is not that different than livestock manure once it is screened.
When farmers apply animal manure to crop fields, to comply with Right to Farm Guidelines, they must:
keep accurate records;
have soil tested for existing nutrients;
have manures nutrients tested;
calibrate manure spreaders to know how much manure/nutrients are going on the fields;
know the crop and its nutrient needs so the right amount of manure can be spread.
Michigan State University Extension office works with farmers to make sure the appropriate amounts of manure and/or fertilizer are applied to the crop. The goal is not to waste money or nutrients, but to be environmentally friendly and as efficient as possible.
Spreading septage on farm fields is heavily regulated and permitted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in cooperation with the Northwest Michigan Community Health Agency. MSU Extension works with septage haulers and farmers to apply the right amount of septage for the crop. The septage hauler must follow the same rules as farmers with these additions:
use only septage taken from homes,
screen waste to take out paper products;
have soils tested for existing nutrients;
be specified distances from water bodies, wetlands, property boundaries, homes and wells;
incorporate the septage into the ground within six hours of land application;
have 10 hours of continuing septage education.
Using septage as a fertilizer for crops is like using animal manure for fertilizer. The nutrients and the organic matter are good for the soil and good for the crop. Putting the waste into the ground and utilizing the nutrients and organics is a cost effective way to get rid of the waste. This is the ultimate: reduce, recycle, reuse.
Sewage sludge has been applied to land in the United States and Europe for over 40 years, with no evidence of associated health problems. Today, almost half of the sewage sludge generated in the United States is land applied, according to an EPA brochure. Septage is a valuable nutrient that should be utilized and not thrown away. Think about it!
Heidi S. Lang, Soil Erosion
Officer Antrim County
Teach a lesson
Maybe you have a point that written English is all about communication and that we should forgive and forget common errors, but lets follow that thought through to see where it leads us. (Re: Random Thoughts, 8/2.)
If language is meant for communication, then errors such as erratic capitalization might get in the way of getting ideas across. Punctuation is intended to convey pauses (commas), finality (periods), exclamations (!), and questions (?), among other things. Why not get them right to make meanings clear?
And what about sloppiness in writing? Very unique? Its either unique or it isnt. Drop down? What other way can it drop? Less people at the Fair? Sure, you can understand less, but why not use fewer for countable objects? The meaning is clear, I suppose, but the reader comes away feeling the writer (and the editor) was lazy. Shouldnt written language provide a model for young people just getting started as writers?
Maybe the Express doesnt care about dropped punctuation and idiosyncratic capitalization, but most publications do. Whether you want the job or not, you are a teacher of English, God help you. So why not accept the responsibility?
Richard Fidler TC
In response to: Ramblings of a full-time musician in last week‘s Express, I would like say halleluiah to Mr. Greilick for challenging the misconceptions of our local music scene.
As a former musician and the father of a talented young singer who has performed in this region for many years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know and experience some of the finest players in the North. The list runs long, and if there is one common thread weaving through that pool of professionals around here, its the fact that they all do their talking on the stage, right where it belongs. For those who choose otherwise, I sure hope they can walk the walk.
Mark Waggener TC
Don‘t forget local needs
The July 19 letter about Safe Passage, the organization dedicated to the children of the Guatemala City slums, to me exemplifies both thinking and acting globally, as the phrase goes, and is a wonderful effort.
I would just remind readers, though, that we can look in our own backyard to find children and families in need. There are 21,000 children in foster care in Michigan, most as a result of abuse and neglect. Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan serves about 400 of them annually.
A 2003 Northwest Michigan Council of Governments survey found an estimated 13,294 people living in poverty in the five county Grand Traverse region -- more than eight percent of the population. There are four women to every man living in poverty, with children present in half the 1,600 individuals and households surveyed. About 600 people living in poverty here are also homeless, according to Goodwill Industries.
Please think and act locally, too. Support work like the Traverse Bay Poverty Reduction Initiative, which seeks to reduce poverty by 25 percent by 2010. Give some of your time or money to Child and Family Services, the Womens Resource Center, Third Level, or dozens of other great organizations that help those who struggle with addiction, illness, poverty and other tough challenges-right here at home.
Gina Aranki, Marketing & PR Director Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan