Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, December 19, 1981, Image 10

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    Alo—Lancaster Farming, Saturday, December 19,1981
Did you ever want to give the federal
government a‘piece of your mind about the
way they are running things?
Until January 15, 1982, every farmer and
person living in the U.S. will have the chance
to tell one branch of the federal government
just what they think.
As part of the Soil and Water Resources
Conservation Act of 1977 the United States
Department of Agriculture has been listening
to public comments on its conservation
programs since 1978. Now, for the fourth
time, USDA is asking for feedback from the
people it is intended to serve.
To help people respond to the appeal for
opinion-poll support for its program direction,
the USDA has conveniently drawn up a
questionaire on which a flick of a pen will
check an individual’s attitude on 20 issues,
with the options of ‘strong support’ all the way
down to ‘strong opposition.'
We think its awfully considerate of the
bureaucrats to come up with these guidelines
to issues they say have been based on
previous opinion surveys Unfortunately, the
bureaucratic language seems to filter down
even to the simplest questionnaire.
Take, for example, Question 18 which reads
“Minimizing conflicts among features of USDA
farm programs that limit achievement of
conservation objectives.” How can anyone feel
strongly one way or another on this sort of
question? What type of conflicts are they
talking about, which farm programs, and
whose conservation objectives?
Most of the other questions on Secretary
John Block’s list of preferred Soil and Water
Resource Conservation Program issues are
decipherable, but merit second and
sometimes third readings.
We should all agree that there’s a strong
need to establish a clear national priority list of
conservation problems (Question 1), but who’s
going to write them down the bureaucrat
who drew up this questionnnaire? That would
throw out any possibility of clearness.
And the idea of strengthening the part
nerships that exist between landowners and
all levels of government is idealistically a grand
idea (Question 2). But how can this ‘dream’
come true when even withm the ranks of the
current administration, a sense of unity seems
to be lacking.
One cleverly phrased question might throw
some people off track, but not many. The
USDA asks whether the public would be in
favor of “providing federal matching block
grants to states by reducing federal con
servation programs." (Question 3) At first
glance this looks like a bonus to individual
states the federal government agrees to
“provide” matching funds. But a closer look
tells us these funds will mean a much smaller
federal share, with the states having to pick up
half of the tab that USDA used to pay. And
what would happen to the conservation
program m a state that simply couldn’t come
up with the money. Their conservation
problems would be addressed with ‘short
The questionnaire suggests coordination at
the local level of USDA agencies, conservation
Qualified support
The Berks County Conservation
District has given qualified sup
port to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s new proposed
conservation program.
The board of directors feels the
Off the
S omiAmg
By Sheila Miller, Editor
Comments on
program is a move in the right
direction. But. exception is being
taken with seveial features of the
new program.
The board is opposing the
establishment of local and state
districts. Extension committees, and otneis
(Question 4) This we agree would be a terrific
change for the better so that there is a
common goal and effort at the grassroot’s
level of the conservation problem down on
the farm.
But, the ‘‘Preferred Program” takes this one
step further on the state and national level
and gives birth to new branches of
Unless the public shows strong opposition to
Questions 6-8, USDA will work toward
establishing a new State Conservation
Coordinating Board that will be politically
appointed by each state’s governor. Penn
sylvania already has its Bureau of Soil and
Water Conservation within the Department of
Environmental Resources and this agency
works with local conservation districts and the
'USDA agencies in overall planning of con
servation programs Who needs an identical
The USDA also proposes a National Con
servation Board. Didn’t they ever hear that
too many cooks spoiled the soup. There’s
already too much talk and not enough action in
solving the erosion and flooding crisis taking
place on U S land.
Ideas of emphasizing cost-efficient con
servation practices, (Question 11) are a must
in today’s weak economy nobody has money
to burn. But targeting more USDA funds and
personnel to areas where erosion or other
conditions threaten the production capacity of
soil and water resources (Question 10) could
mean problems in little (but mighty) states like
Pennsylvania would be deemed insignificant in
relation to problems being experienced by
states like Texas, California, and Montanna.
And one of the last proposals the USDA is
inviting people to comment on is the con
troversial idea of cross-compliance
“requiring land owners to have a conservation
plan in order to be eligible for Farmers Home
Administration loans. (Question 16) What if
the farmer’s loan is for livestock or crops on
leased land?
It’s time USDA got down to the ground level
of their conservation program and put its
personnel and technical resources where it
counts out on the farm, working with far
mers in solving erosion and surface water
problems. Research and education are an
important part of the progress our nation can
make it saving its valuable soil, but all the
USDA scientists and information specialists in
the nation won’t have any jobs if farmers
aren’t ‘buying’ what they’re selling.
In order to feed the world as cheaply as our
political leaders prefer, farmers need the
government’s and taxpayers financial support
in their conservation efforts. It's no time for
the federal government to call for more
programs and practices for half the funds.
But it is time for farmers everywhere to
speak up, either by using the questionnaire or
preferably writing a personal letter filled from
top to bottom with ideas on what would make
USDA’s conservation program earn its keep. It
only takes your time and concern, and of
course that 20-cent stamp.
coordinating committees. This will
mean the creation of a new system
and will duplicate the present State
Soil and Water Conservation
Commission as well as all the local
county conservation districts.
The provision ot the new
proposed program, which provides
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December 20,1981
Background Scripture:
Luke 2:1-20.
Devotional Reading:
Philippians 1:3-11
If the cross is the symbol of
Christ’s passion and resurrection,
the manger is surely the symbol of
his birth. According to Luke’s
Gospel, the symbolism has a divine
origin, for the.angel that appeared
to the shepherds in the fields
outside Bethlehem said very
specifically; "And this will be a
sign for you: you will find a babe
wrapped in swaddling cloths and
lying in a manger" (2: 12). It was
God himself who placed his
manger sign upon the earth.
Saviour, Christ, Lord!
What is the meaning of that sign
for us?
For one answer to that question,
By Jay Irwin
Lancaster County Agriculture Agent
Phone 717-394-5851
To Be Aware of Fertilizer Value
of Manure
The 1982 Agronomy Guide lists,
on page 7, the real fertilizer value
in our livestock and poultry
manure. As fertilizer costs in
crease, we need to make every
effort to use and preserve these
manure fertilizer elements. On the
basis of the fertilizer content at
current fertilizer prices, cattle
manure has $3.00 worth of fer
tilizer elements per ton, swine
manure contains about $5.00 worth
and poultry manure contains about
$20.00 worth of fertilizer elements.
This will vary depending on the
moisture and bedding content. In
addition, all types of manure add
organic matter to the soil which is
needed on most farms. For best
results manure should be either
“You can’t be taking a poll! Elections are over. No politician
cares now what farmers think."
imaging in your mind's eye an old
. fashioned balance scale. On the
right-hand side of the scale,
imagine in large, bold letters these
three words; SAVIOUR, CHRIST,
LORO. Then on the left-hand side
imagine the manger sign. Most of
us will imagine that the scale is
greatly out of balance, the right
side with Jesus’ three lofty titles
being so much weightier than the
left side with its simple manger.
In other words, there is a
tremendous paradoxical irony in
Luke’s story of Jesus’ birth. On the
one hand the shepherds in the field
are told that God has finally an
swered Israel’s prayers and given
them one who is SAVIOUR,
CHRIST, and LORD, all in one!
What a powerful, earthshaking
announcement it whs.
Yet, at the same time, the God
given sign of this great event was
almost unbelievable: A manger,
not a crib for a newborn child —let
alone this newborn child - but a
feed-trough for common animals!
What could be more inappropriate,
even incongruous? The one who is
LORD bom in a feed-trough!
Yet more than Just the crude
manger itself is what it sym
bolizes. For the manger stands for
the most humble of cir-
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incorporated into the topsoil or
stored in a water-tight pit until it
can be spread and mixed with the
To Be Alert for LT in Poultry
Poultry farmers should be on the
look-out LT (laryngotracheitis)
is on the prowl again. Several
cases have been confirmed. Let’s
not be lulled to sleep with the fact
that LT has been held in check for
awhile. We are into the season with
less sunshine and more op
portunity for the disease to spread.
Health security is most im
portant. Insist that salesmen, feed
deliverymen, egg customers, and
pick-up people stay out of the
poultry house. It’s also a good idea
.to provide OUTSIDE receptacles
for feed slips, invoices and other
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