Stewart Udall and Charles Reinert - Preserving the Rural Environment

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Listen: Stewart Udall and Charles Reinert - Preserving the Rural Environment

"Preserving the Rural Environment" was discussed at the Conversations in the Countryside conference held this summer at Southwest State University in Marshall.

Speakers were Stewart Udall, a former Secretary of the Interior and Charles Reinert, an Associate Professor of Physics at Southwest State University. Moderator of the discussion was Morris Behrman, a farmer from Wood Lake. Another participant was Clint Haroldson, a farmer from Renville, who served as a resource person for the discussion. The program began with some formal remarks from Udall.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

One of the wonderful things that happened to me 15 years ago was to be Robert Frost's man in Washington. So when I think of poetry and that's what I will begin with this morning, I think of Robert Frost, you know, the point to one thing poets do is they see the things that the rest of us miss. And we think of the one we looked at the natural world, of course the fall when the colors change and and and gold is a dominant color. We think of that is the golden season, but Robert Frost the poet perceived which any good naturalist knows that some of the first colors of the early buds. If you look closer also gold and he exemplified this in his little verse nothing Nothing Gold Can Stay Nature's first green is gold her hardest Hue to hold. Her early Leafs a flower, but only so an hour then Leaf subsides to Leaf. So Eden sank to grief. So Dawn goes down today Nothing Gold Can Stay I I feel right at home here because in a very real sense, I think I can call myself a graduate of America. I grew up in a town much smaller than Marshall Minnesota. Probably the size that many of you here today size of community is that your promise community of about 1200 people. I think I feel right at home now because this is a Hardscrabble country of Northern Arizona where the ground is hard and dry and one always keeps an eye on the on the horizon and on the weather. I went to a we've been called in junior college student body of about 225 and I was fortunate when I went to University of Arizona, but back in the late thirties if student population was about 2,000 and so I feel it too. I have some very special feelings about Rural America and what is Prospect is that I want to say at the very outset is a theme for my remarks. I think we may be on the edge of what might be called a real Renaissance. The my preoccupation for the last 16 years has been with Resources with the environment. I was there and that was part of the excitement of the 1960s, you know, some people think that he ecology and environment as we call it. Now that this began sometime in the 1970s Earth Day and all that sort of thing know it started much earlier if I had the date when my own thinking began to change and I began to see these New Dimensions. That now a preoccupation with so many of us that are trying to understand this very complex world. It would be Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring 1962, but said to us that the natural system of which were apart is far more delicate and subtle in the interrelationships. Are very complex and we have to understand you're so as I watched the developments of the last 15 years and particularly because that is my special subject now. I watch the energy crisis, which most people now think is something that was a passing phase of the disappeared and I warned you against that presumption that there are there are some major forces that were we are perhaps on a watershed a major changes that could have a major impact on Rural America. There has been for example a trim a 40 or 50 year trim that was accelerated in the last 30 years of people moving out of the country moving into the city this of course was enhanced by the Agricultural Revolution. The fact that that fewer and fewer people were needed to produce the food in fiber and therefore the place to go was in the big cities and the the United States is substantially changed, but the more we looked at so many of these changes. At least the closer Isla. The more I see that much of what has happened in American life in the last 30 years the extraordinary growth of cities urban sprawl the automobile culture that we've spawn here the change in our whole transportation system with the way we let our railroads and public transportation go down the drain. This was all part of the big energy Joy Ride On The Bus using up more and more of our petroleum resources faster and faster. And now we're running out and there are big changes head. There's any problem area that I see for the United States than in the next 25 years an area where where one might say, we're going to be a loser. It's in the energy area big problems. If there's any area in American life that I see as a winner any sector of American Life its American agriculture. Where the girls in the world population with all old the terrible perhaps catastrophic problems. We Face trying to feed the population of this small planet population is growing in alarming ways American Agriculture and its potential becomes more and more crucial. And if as a result of the dwindling of our energy supplies if there is as I believe no substitute for petroleum. Then we may need more people on the forms. And we met meme we may need more people in rural America. We may be able to rely Less on the high degree of mechanization on cheap cheap fertilizers from petroleum and so on and so on and this could be part of this nutrient that I'm that I sense is coming. The advantages that we firmly saw when people moved into the big cities in the big Urban centers. These advantages supposedly that was Square culture was that was where easier living more comfort more excitement. and yet with all the negative side of mass communications of Television, for example One one can enjoy it when is discriminating because the programs are there the ascent of man and things like that one can live in the smallest town in this region and still not feeling a person is deprived culturally and with the kind of regional culture that you have or that is developed in the Twin Cities. For example in recent years one is not as far away as people thought. What are big cities are in trouble Urban America has problems some of which may be insoluble? I saw the other day when I went in to Kansas City. Hey booster billboard. They can put up and said enjoy Kansas City one of the few livable big cities left and it's about right. And so those those Americans who loved the land. Who want the kind of human relations that one has in smaller towns and smaller communities? I think we suddenly begin to see the the values that are that are and I I know I have many many friends and the big cities in the east That would be delighted particularly if they're they have any kind of feel for the land or they have young children to rear to get a job in a place like the community one right now and take a very big pay cut if they could do so. We're seeing I think I hope a value Revolution that's part of all of this. The great emphasis in this explosive. Of the last 40 years in the United States has been on materialism. And on an emphasis on what one might call Gross growth or emphasis on gross national product on producing all these incredible incredible array of goods that we seem to want to possess and feet are so important. And yep to increasingly I think Americans are beginning to see that much of this is empty. I think as resource shortages make more and more of these material Goods more costly that we will see that many of them are not important to us and let the values. That too can be gained from living in a social and physical environment. That is life-giving one might say That these values will and are reasserting themselves in American Life. in Rural America The fact that people who have a sense of place a sense of rootedness, you know part of the one of the of the impacts negative impacts of this incredible Mobility that we have in this country today. The fact that 20% of the American people change their place of residence every year Vance Packard. The sociologist is his last book called a nation of strangers discussing this phenomena, alt offers book Future Shock is also related to this the fact that we seem to be overwhelmed by by change. And this this is man that there is a sense of rootlessness. the sense of place the sense of belonging to a region are belonging to a community that existed so powerfully in this country. 30 or 40 years ago that I can remember in my youth is one of those things that we've lost to a large degree that is very important. I believe in this country and saw in smaller towns and in Rural America where people care about their backyards. And the appearance of their property. I care about their neighborhoods and their community and their River and their region and that's what I sent is going on in this part of Minnesota. I think this is part of the rural Renaissance. I'll return to important aliens that we have lost or partially lost that I consider a major Cain. We're supposed to talk to her this morning about on a clear day. You can see Minneapolis. Well, I don't know whether how far you can see here, but I would say to you. As I look ahead at the next 25 years and the very big problems that we face as people who are increasingly part of another Community a community of small and shrinking planet. As we look at the the problems that we are going to be confronted with us a nation of making dwindling resources go further the importance of conservation. conservation of energy the conservation of the land conservation of all kinds of environments including places where people work. That we will see that what we call the environment is not a free all know. This is at the heart of Life the question of balance the question of values. question of understanding how through public policies and private actions We can serve the very best of our farm escapes. Around Landscapes. We preserve the cleanliness. Call the environment and understand how important it is. To all of us and that we understand the importance of the human in a relationships. That are part of this overall environment of people in land. That's what I want to say for openers, and I hope I've stimulated some questions later. Thank you. Thank you for those opening remarks. Mr. Utah died with the van last Chuck Rinehart 2. Make some remarks. When I talk to Maurice late yesterday afternoon. He said that I was supposed to be sure and be here at 9 in the morning so that we could get together and decide what it was that we were to talk about this morning and I showed up late as usual. One of the reasons is that I sent my wife off to a conference in the other reasons that I had to get the baby ready for the babysitter. But I suppose that the all important reason was that I seem to delay every time I travel somewhere and looking around the Horizon to see if I can find any rain clouds and I guess if this landscape reminds Mister you do all of Northern Arizona, those hot lights up there remind me of what I've seen every day and every day for the last what's it been almost four years has been I think that I'll confine my remarks at least initially to one particular phase of the environment, which is I guess the phase of the environment that I see so much in, Southwestern, Minnesota. As some of you may recall I grew up in this area just south of Tracy Minnesota about 25 miles away. Hello red-haired Farm kid who is going up about the time that the plow horses were being put out to pasture for the last time. When fertilizer with something that you shoveled and I remember shoveling it, what are you doing now, but still show up at 2 and when you could get your shotgun, I recall in fact that our friendly neighborhood Standard Oil Dealer sold mostly gasoline, then no one knew that they couldn't Farm without those big white bombs of anhydrous ammonia, cuz we grew our own nitrogen in those days off. So was what you did to a fence post at least I did when I was a kid crop rotation cultivation and just plain good husbandry kept the word agribusiness has not yet been invented and if we'd heard of it we kids would naturally have thought of the local hardware store owner who had a new scoop shovel to replace the one that would warrant out. Well after a lifetime of going up or at least it seemed that way I left the Prairie and we're sitting on the edge of the Prairie here and spent the better part of the next 10 years in the brick and concrete jungles that most Americans now call home. somewhat 75% of us That was back. By the way in the days when food came from the supermarket over those days the farm really didn't matter. No one yet realized the role of the land and food production except that it was nice for building houses houses on. But sometime in the sixties and I guess when I became cognizant of the environment was perhaps in the mid-60s light 60s a few new words became added to the American vocabulary words, like environment ecology pollution and others and I think they're came to be the beginning of a recognition major problems with Urban Great Society. It seemed that among other things. The cities had bad breath. sulfur oxides nitrogen oxides carbon monoxide they're drinking water as I think you've heard now. I'm Mississippi had more additives and Hostess Twinkies. And they had the funny habit of burying the nation's mineral resources in their garbage heaps. In fact, I guess the one of the projects that I kind of took on personally at Southwest year was getting involved in the solid waste movement. It kind of fizzled out. We never did get any recycling plants going but we try so at any rate. I finally thought that I leave all that foolishness behind and come back out to dinner the air had peroxide in the people had fewer suicides. Everybody knew that country air and water were clean and the quality of life. Well, we didn't have the Metropolitan Opera but we did have trees and grass and pheasants and foxes and friendly folks, especially on Saturday night. But when I returned I found that the countryside was not quite the same as I'd remembered it. Or was it perhaps that I've been gone too long and now I'll return with a more critical eye. And by the way now for those of you and those of us who are in agriculture, I have one sitting on either side of me you recognize that I'm overstating the case, but I want to make a point. I guess the first thing that I noticed when I returned with a funny little extra boxes on the corn planters. I also noticed that they were fewer fine Groves and I remembered when I left and the Contour strips in the trees have begun to disappear. My late fall at that first year, the corn stalks were gone to swallowed up by a slice of Steel as though the land were embarrassed to be littered by the leftovers for the year's production. I wondered what the pheasants would even where they would hide but that didn't seem to be a problem. The neighbors told me that they weren't many pheasants anymore seems the pheasants got hit by blizzards those hunters from the city and high taxes. The winter snow was a little dirtier than I'd remembered it. I didn't fight. No just why? I thought I perceive the change in attitudes on my return. Also a neighboring farmer and I were discussing the matter one day. He'd been across the road planting corn and stopped in my driveway to get a drink of well water. So I invited in by them to join me for a cool beer. How goes the battle says I looks as though farming has changed quite a bit since you went away. He mused is he removed his rubber gloves and pushed his respirator on to his forehead. Again, I'm overstating. Well, I guess it has a little say I hear quite a bit about it talk about farming becoming more efficient. I said as I stepped my beer that was a local beer, by the way back in the days before the local breweries were run out of business by the non returnable cans. Well, yeah, that's what they say secretary but says that a farmer can now feed 50 people and that's the number you're here. And I wondered at the time whether that counted all the workers making the fertilizer chemicals in Machinery or did they somehow get left out of that calculation because they never get their shoes dirty. Well, then, where are you going to go on your vacation this summer after all I thought it'd farmers were more efficient and less logically follow that therefore have more time for their families. Acacian. Hell I don't even have time to go fishing. I'm so darn deficient that I have to work a 60-hour week you're around and still don't get all the work done sounded like shades of Catch-22. Do you know I'm farming four times as much land as my father did and that's right really weird all the extra income from I just remembered Will Rogers saying that they weren't making any more. Well this place to the north I bought because the guy went bankrupt. He's up in St. Paul at the Ford plant now putting on tires. This one to the east we picked up because the owner was retiring seems his son didn't want to farm. No future energy said and he went on to list a few other failures in the area. I noticed that the Contour strips in the terrorist and the other Soil Conservation measures, you've heard this all before from commissioner. We fall introduced by the soil conservation service in the 30s didn't really seem to be catching on so I ask my neighbor about it. Well I said we had to take out a few trees here in there and the SES just doesn't understand that those Contour strips don't work with her big machinery gives you too many funny little Corners that you can't work, right? Well, aren't you losing topsoil on those heels? I am fire timidly and have you looked at the hills Southwestern Minnesota in the springtime before they're covered with crops. I suppose somebody robots of Ralston Purina says that that's where he came from by the way, that's probably where he's going back to Berkeley. Anyway girl but says that we efficient farmers are supposed to go all out to raise food for the world and you can't very well do that and conserve the soil at the same time besides the lakes hereabouts are getting too shallow for good fishing. Anyway, so, might just as well use it time farming. What about the soil fertility? I'd heard somewhere that civilized man has marched across the face of the Earth and left a desert in his Footprints. Oh, that's no problem. We buy our plant food from the NPK feeds. The plant really doesn't need the soil except just to hold up the stock. I wasn't quite sure whether NPK was sufficient to help make strong bodies 12 ways but ignored yet for the minute, but I thought I was supposed to be a solar energy. And in fact, that's really what it's for. That's really what it's for. That's our major income of solar energy. If you like isn't that an hydrous ammonia made from scarce natural gas well could be but we've got plenty of anhydrous right now that energy crisis was all concocted by the oil companies anyway. Besides out here on the land a man is independent of all that politics and big business. I don't know where he but I don't worry about where it's coming from. I just buy it and use it. I don't know how I farm without the stuff now that I've gotten used to it. I can put in the growing your own fertilizer must be a little old-fashioned you buy it from the store instead. Was that why so much attention seem to be paid agribusiness while much less time seem devoted to the farm people themselves. You don't hear as much about agriculture. It seems to me as you hear about agribusiness. But natural gas is in fact growing short and somewhere I dread of a 35 year supply of phosphates in the US. In fact three-quarters of those reserves are in Africa and Asia, perhaps that's why we're paying more attention to Africa now. What would we do when there was no more fertilizer at the store with the agribusiness boys really care? I had a final question for my visitor. How do you control your weeds in this modern technological agriculture? Oh, that's easy. We just use atrazine or lasso or diazinon or Teflon or a banner furadan a Prowler basagran and he reeled off a half a dozen more but it sounded like nonsense syllables to me. So I finally interrupted but how can you be sure that all these things are safe to use I asked. I said simple you just read the instructions. It says right here and you happen to have a camera on with him. You're at off the label use only with adequate ventilation avoid contact with eyes or skin wash thoroughly after handling laundry clothing before we use avoid contamination of seed feed and foodstuffs harmful or fatal if swallowed may cause allergic skin reaction do not use near Wildlife areas disposal container and safe place wherever that is. It was only at your own risk and I got those awful a soap container. But with all those precautions, where is it safe to use it? well in the cornfield naturally and I wondered now just why the cancer rate Rose 5% last year. But isn't there a chance that these fancy chemicals are going to get into the groundwater? You just smile that gives anybody besides the chemical companies wouldn't sell the stuff. It weren't safe where they course I wouldn't use this stuff on my own garden. But we don't need the fuel crops. But why don't you use these chemicals when we didn't need them 30 years ago. Well, as I mentioned I am farming four times the land my dad did and you just have to take some shortcuts. Never get over all that lie on. And I inquired timidly as to why he was farming so much land that my friend was becoming impatient. Man, you have been gone a long time. Time used to be when a man could Farm 80 acres and make a fair living but we're so efficient. Now we have to farm 300 acres to make a living and that's thanks to the university for all the great research. but but can't you still farm the land by working with nature instead of against her I asked but he scowled. Are you one of those organic sympathizers? Earl Butz of Ralston Purina says that if we don't use all these technological gadgets that 1/4 the people will starve and I wondered whether he was referring to all the workers in the chemical factories. The environment just has to give a little if we're going to feed all these people and he indicated with a wave of his hand a hungry multitude is watching us from the empty farm buildings across the road. I decided it when does much done much good? Joe told him about the recent commoner study out of Washington University St. Louis which demonstrated that organic farmers could make just as much money and produce nearly as much fluid by not using add chemicals as other Farmers could make with them the national fertilizer Institute didn't like that study very much and they tried very hard to get his funds cut off which believe Well, my friend, hopefully you shortly after muttering something into his respirator about college professors and left me. Wondering what it really happened to the clean country environment that I thought I remembered. Or was it all really a figment of my imagination in the first place? Perhaps and I think I have been overly facetious in the foregoing my neighbor. I'm sure won't talk to me now, but now let me be just a bit more succinctly as the story goes. There's good news and there's bad news bad news in about a dozen bad jokes began with that line environmentalist. Love to tell the bad news first and sometimes they're so horrified after telling the bad news that they forget. There is any good news Kenneth boulding said one time use an economist out of Boulder, Colorado. He said I am something of an ecologist at heart mainly because I'm really a preacher. And we all know that all the colleges to really creatures under the skin. They are great viewers with alarm. Is there any more single-minded simple pleasure than doing with alarm at times? It's even better than sex. First of all, I think it's clear to those of you who live in Southwestern Minnesota those of you who listen to John we fall that we do have serious Leila Roshan problems. It's only half an exaggeration to say that we have a Black Desert here in Southwestern, Minnesota for about 8 months of the year. flyover at some time in the fall before the snow comes Has Minnesota agriculture commissioner we fall is said repeatedly and I think he has a hell of a lot more sense in our good friend. But there's a lot of land now plowed up that should never have been touched and there's topsoil now in the rivers and lakes which has to be worth a lot more than the few crops which came off before it washed away. And I think by the way, you should also understand the role of field crops in the collection of solar energy. Fundamentally, you have to have something growing on the land in order to absorb the solar energy. You have a lichen growing on the land when you're not growing your other crops are going to capture it if it's black dirt, you're not going to get anything out of it. I personally believe and many scientists share my concern. But there are serious risks associated with the use of Agriculture Michaels on our food producing lion. In principle EPA is supposed to clear these before you send verify their safety. But frankly, I guess I've lost faith in the ability of such an agency to properly do its job under the financial and political pressures of the mega Corporation. In addition, even if the products themselves are safe, whatever that means. What about their breakdown products? Very little is known about them. Who is monitoring Farmers Health to ensure that you're not getting excessive exposure to those chemicals? How many farmers do you know who really follow the instructions on the labels. Many? I talked to my brother-in-law about that one day. I asked him. Do you really follow up with power those instructions on the label? And he said something to the effect are you kidding? It's simply impractical you can't. Is it even possible to apply the stuff if you really follow the instructions and I don't think we should blame the file the farmer for using this job because if you take a look at the full page color advertising in the farm magazines, how many articles do you see with recommendations as to how to farm without using them. Many? There's not much profit in that and I mean in a corporate sense. How many awards are given to farmers are practice good soil husbandry. I suspect they would not be likely to be voted the outstanding young farmer of Lyon County production. Yes conservation know who's minding the store who is measuring the soil erosion? What a geek onimus and at the risk of offending my friend out there. I sometimes think that I could kind of us are almost as dangerous as Engineers. What kind of us are telling us about the dollar losses due to soil erosion aren't they concerned with soil erosion? Why is it that the Lamberton experiment station with established on level lion? Who's monitoring the water quality at the farm not the Minnesota Department of Health or EPA or FDA or anybody else? If anybody test it the farmer has to do with her at his request, but usually I have to feed for the analysis of any exotic chemicals often. The only sign a farmer has a bad water has health problems either his family or his livestock by then. It may be too late. Now the good news, you know, the the best piece of good news. I have I saw this morning along Highway 23, there were two little kids out there on bicycles. They had a plastic bag and I didn't particularly like that. You know what they were doing collecting aluminum beer cans and selling them. It's finally coming back. Secondly, it's nice that this is not a metropolitan trouble area. We're in the midwest. We're not in California, which I suspect is pretty well gone by now and well, it's nice. You know, when you live in the midwest, you're midway between California and New York, which is where the trouble spots always seem to occur first. We still have some small chance to solve our own problems. And we've not yet it gone as far as California know we're having heavy been sold out to the cool interest that seems to have happened to West Virginia. Third having worked to some extent within state government for the last four years as an advisor. I guess I'd like to say that I think you have a fairly decent state government at least as far as the environment is concerned. Minnesota Environmental Quality Council created in 1973 or supposed to make us look hard before we take anavar mental leap having been a member of that body for the past year. I think they're doing a good job There be Rock, right? Yeah, you'll be at the ER but I think they're fairly effective. I think I do see some Tennessee for state government to be dominated by the mining interests and you probably heard that on the radio this morning. and summary I feel the environment in Southwestern. Minnesota is nearly neither as good as it could be nor as bad as me either as bad as it could be as good as we can make it if we choose if I dwelt upon agriculture is because agriculture is what our land is used for out here and is agriculture goes. So goes the environment. I heard you to be more cautious and careful in the games that you play with the land. They ain't making no more. I got a question from the audience director directed to you mister. You tell Will you expand on your statement? There is no substitute for petroleum. Please comment on your assessment of the future roll up solar and terminal energy for residential and Industrial use. I have you mentioned two books. I have one that came out 2 years ago call the energy balloon. And if you want to find out my full views on the energy crisis, you can read it. But when I say there is no substitute for petroleum. I still think there is such we have such tremendous confidence in science and technology in this country that probably if I ask for a vote of all of you in the room here right now, you know, if the president United States gave a an unlimited budget and invited the top scientist in the country and told him your mission is to produce a substitute for oil if they would go out and in five years and come back and say we have it. I used to think that way myself 10 years ago. I I don't any longer there is no substitute oil shale is not a substitute for petroleum. Gasifying Cole is not a substitute for natural gas. We can't get it in the quantities. The cost will be much higher maybe five six times higher and that's the reason I think it's very important to recognize that we're running out of petroleum. And there is no substitute that means that we are to conserve and stretch what we have and this is to me very basic in terms of our view of all the energy crisis that mean is that we ought to begin. As rapidly as we can to turn to and begin to the development of substitutes for petroleum, and the the substitutes are everything from solar energy, which I think we're going to be delightfully surprised how much of a contribution it can make to win power that ought to be of interest in this part of the World Recycling our own our own way. Swear. We can the developing all kinds of Alternative Energy Systems country. Assuming that if if the doomsayers like me if our view of the energy crisis is correct, then we're really running out of petroleum. And running out very fast that there was some scientific quickie trick solution. There is it's very important to recognize that. I noticed there seems to be some conflicting hear you state that there is a truly a shortage of an energy and Chucky little to the fact that this has been concocted a shortage of fuel and and Energy. Now, why would you want to respond to that sure, as I said I overstated the case and wasn't pretending hopefully to put all of those statements on to my Farmer neighbor and he doesn't really exist. I made him up. I think that there was a popular few the oil companies had in fact concocted it and one could argue that okay, maybe they you know, it's all good things coming and thought they take advantage of it for what it was worth. But I think if you look at the resource picture for energy regardless of whether it's oil or natural gas or coal any of our fossil fuels natural gas and oil stick out like sore thumbs. In fact, there is a tremendous growing a tremendous shortage of those words contradictory substantial shortage. No question about it King Hubbert. In fact a geologist. I believe predicted. The shortage is many as 125. In fact the whole. During which were going to be able to be on fossil fuels is really very limited. So there's no question about I guess I myself and not convinced that it's beginning to show up very strongly just yet. But within 20 years you bet a good deal of news of course was made by about the Alaska North Slope fine on the other hand. If you look at the resources up there compared to our consumption you're talkin about three or four years and maybe it's 10 years now, maybe they found more but just a few years supply for the country. And that was a major fine. That was a biggie. It takes a heck of a lot of oil to keep this place going. I guess in addition, of course to the use of petroleum for whatever we use it for now and say automobile in that sort of thing and it's very handy there because it's a very high energy fuel. You also needed as a chemical feedstock to make those nasty Plastics and to make the fertilizer the other things that it's very convenient to have petroleum to make so there's a question as to whether you should even maybe you should use it in the chemical industry instead but no question about it it short I agree with miss you too all the way. I'm glad there is no disagreement. One of them last night asked me the question that I usually get. Well aren't there a lot of capwell's aren't the oil companies holding back and this isn't something 15-20 years away. We have a couple of normal winners or severe Winters you're going to see in some parts United States severe shortages of natural gas. The natural gas shortage problem is The Cutting Edge of the energy crisis in the next few. And to give you the bad news and I just have to and you can follow it as I have been doing for the last 15 years in terms of how much were using and how much were finding were using more than we're fine and and give it to you in very dramatic fashion. Let's talk about crude oil. If we stopped finding any additional crude oil and there where they're not finding very much despite all of that you breathe if we stopped exploring if we stop importing oil and we used our proven reserves of oil in the United States of America at the rate. We're using it today. We would use it all up in 6 years. That's that's where we're at. Thank you wording to your statement that limitation. If this be true, and when we look at what is happening in the Congress of the offenders that are appropriated for encouragement of expiration wouldn't it be proper that we spend more of our energy and more of our money looking for solar energy. They claim it's going to be there another million years. I don't know if I'll be around that long but shouldn't be working in that direction in New York are the nuclear power subject has become I think rightly very, very controversial and we're seeing the first beginning is now an overdue movement to stress these other alternate forms, including solar energy wind power and I'm a great believer in science and technology. I think there are a lot of People scientist professors working in their garages tinkering around their new companies developing solar energy systems were going to be surprised just how quickly they come on the line and how effective they are in my opinion. Okay with some of these questions there's one here to you. Mr. Udall in the question was do you really feel there's a true lack of energy. And I think you've covered that that parallels to the first question. We have another question here addressed to Mr. Ewell all how do you assess the future of liquefying nitrogen as a petroleum substitute? hydrogen hydrogen Again, this is this is one of these things that looks very good on paper and sinus have been talkin about a hydrogen economy for some time. There was even some of you may have noticed that this was in the national news last month some some guy out in California claim to get invented a gadget that would without expanding much energy or cost to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. And Barry Goldwater and others rushed out to see it and this was his new Energy Solution. And the physicists and scientists who know something about the laws of thermodynamics. We're very skeptical the beginning cause the crucial thing with any of these new forms of energy hydrogen would be a very good substitute. For natural gas a bit more explosive and dangerous, but it's a good clean fuel. But how to extract it how to split water the key thing is how much energy do you need to produce energy? This now is a new focus and energy in this net energy concept which you're going to read a lot about and which their scientists and Engineers are increasingly going to have to cope with, you know, if we have to use 9 units of energy to produce one unit of energy from oil shale. For example, we have produced an I mean if we use 9 to produce can we haven't produced can we produce one? and attempts probably will be made to manufacture hydrogen, but you have to use energy to do it and that energy will be reflected in cost and it will be reflected in price and in other ways and it's important. I think I'm back to what I said earlier don't think there are any cheap solutions don't think there are any quick Solutions. I've been hearing this for the last 10 years and all of them proved out to prove to be unfounded or wrong. Thank you a question for you. Would you didn't intend to give the impression of it says I go to Great Lengths to ridicule the farmer. I hope not. I guess I'm trying to ridicule some of the premises under which were asking the farmer to operate frankly. It says are you not asking him to number 1 Plant Road to road to feed the world. That's what Earl Butz is asking. I didn't want to give the impression that I was asking him to do it cuz I don't think it's going to do any good and I'll say something about that number to provide cheap food for the consumer and a comment at the bot at the bottom to the effect with with a better price to the Farmer. They would not have to farm so large that agree with that. Okay, I guess when you look at what the farmers being asked to do and I sympathize all he's getting from the federal level is a directive to plant road to road and in fact about the road. I guess I have well mixed emotions. Number one. I sympathize with the people who are starving and on that basis I say yeah. Okay. Let's go ahead and plant Road. On the other hand, there's a very interesting study that came out in science. I think it was the early part of 1974 by pimento and workers out of Cornell and they looked at the among other things the energy intensiveness of farming in the Corn Belt area, but what are the questions they asked was supposed that we do try to feed the world suppose that we try to feed the world with the type of Agriculture that you and I are using and I'm just as guilty as anybody else. Then and suppose that we use all of the petroleum reserves to help us do this you take all of the petroleum and then went in the world on this planet. And Chuck it in agriculture and try to get everybody in the world a minimum calorie diet. The question then is how long of those petroleum reserves by the last four years we are using I think I'll far to energy intensive agriculture to be able to feed the world for very long and I guess while I sympathize with the people who are starving and I can say it because I ate breakfast this morning just barely I don't think that we should be counted on to feed the world Supply than what we can yes Supply them with assistance. Yes, but I'm not frankly convinced that our type of technology and our energy consumption is the way to go maybe the Chinese have a better idea there. Number to of providing cheap food for the consumer. I guess my only comments there is that yes, the farmer is being asked to provide cheap food for the consumer. I think he shouldn't be I think if you look at the cost of production, it's it's high. And in fact, I have a report here from the National Academy of Sciences, which says in effect Etsy it says historically total Farm output is increased by two and a half times since 1910, but the net income of all farm operators in constant dollars is not much higher at present than it was in 1910. That's how bad off it is at this world food conference in Rome a year-and-a-half ago. I collect a lot of these statements but said in the next 25 years were going to the world population will double and we're going to feed twice as many people and we're going to do it with science. And there was a front-page story in the New York Times Sunday. the indicated the the leading agricultural scientist the people who have produced The Enormous increases in productivity. Now strongly feel that we have come to a dead end in terms of further advancement and that the research is not there and perhaps the potential is not there. But this idea that we can always push our land further or that we can do additional things with plant genetics and keep increasing the yields with almost everything in life. There are things that you you can't go beyond and that this may be one of the new realities confronting us. And this said to me this is what I've been waiting for that there is too much optimism my personal feeling and I and it sounds on humanitarian and I hate to even say it but that we have to be honest about it. I think if a nation wherever it's located anywhere in the world wants to pretend to be a nation that can care for the basic needs of its people. I think you ought to begin with the idea that a country's going to feed itself. And I and I think the great if we're going to feed the population I can if we're going to double and redouble I see no way to do it. But but I believe if we got away from the idea that the United States somehow can feed the world and began to say to the Nations that have they're already in the crush of this population food crisis. Look you're going to do it yourself will help you will give you the very best advice we can and will provide teams of technicians and someone but we cannot do it and we're going to say to you now because if we're honest with it with the people in the world right now and the next time you have a bad Monsoon, you're going to see Indian these other countries there and when they turned the United States Like they did ten years ago and we had reserves we could say. Yes, we will help we will help you fight off Family. We're going to have to say to them if we're honest next time. Sorry. We don't have any we just sold it for cash to the Russians and the Japanese and the other and we're selling agricultural products to buy oil right now. That's what we're doing. If you want to look at it as I choose to look at it that lead the agricultural sector is enabling us to buy all this additional imported oil at work that we needed to run around a mobiles and everything else in the month of February or oil imports United States were at 50% 3 years ago it was 36% The energy crisis is real believe me. You will agree with the statement the solution to the problems of technology is the application of more technology. Yes, and no, I'm not a I'm not a pessimist about science. I am no longer a technological Optimist. However, who believes that if we have any problem you can solve it. Life science and technology and I think that it's important for us to understand because we develop such an enormous almost arrogance. That we can create problems environmental problems that make loud the whole future of the human race or of our own children. And then it was I well we got a problem here less trying to sign this loose and they'll solve it. There are we now have the capacity with the machines pollutants poisons in a plutonium the waste from nuclear power plants have a half life of 12000 is a twenty-four thousand years. Now. This is not a an engineering problem. How do we dispose of it? It's it's a moral problem. It's an ethical problem. I saw I saw yesterday again. Somebody said while we shoot it off into space or you better do an environmental impact statement might come back, you know, and and I just I'm giving you my own. And we all have our own life experience. I believe implicitly and nuclear power 10 years ago. I have troubling questions about it now and the prince and I have had leads me to not to disbelieve in science and technology but to feel that we have to understand the limits of Science and Technology and then we have to understand that so many of these questions are questions of values and priorities and morality and it's not just a question of say will call the call the engineers call the scientist. Let's solve the problem. We've gotten into too much trouble with that kind of optimism in my opinion. We have a question here are referred to mr. Udall and Chuck. How does an individual farmer break out of the pressures that force him to farm or land and use bigger machinery? Okay. Well I suppose I can start because I That's not an easy question to answer but let me let me point if I'm a two kind of case history. I referred in my canned speech this morning to a study by Barry commoner's group out of Washington University in St. Louis. Basically, this was a comparison of 16. If you like organic farms, and the word has to be define basically their Farms that don't use the regular fertilizer. They don't use agrichemicals in general comparison of 16 of those and they're pretty good Farmers versus 16 regular conventional farmers and I think the group did their level best to make the comparison Fair fundamentally the size of the farm was about the same size Machinery has about the same the fundamental differences were only that one group used the agrichemicals the other group didn't And one tended to have more crop rotation more legumes in the other group. They were both Mixed Grain and livestock operations. Not a whole lot of difference what they found was very interesting. Number one. They found that the yields were nearly the same. The second thing they found was that the production cost. This is for the 74 study was a little bit less for the organic farmers and for the others about $18 an acre or less. The interesting thing that they found and I think this bear is on what mr. Udall has said for the future that has the price of energy increases because OPEC has decreed that it's going to the cost of these high intensity inputs is also going to increase the organic farmers apparently were able to get along and only one-third as much energy as a conventional Farmers. So my argument there and, that they're going to be less susceptible to the influence of cost increases in the future cuz you're not as dependent on the Arabs is everybody else is now the kicker comes. How do you get to be wonder? How do you find out how to do this? Well, that ain't easy because the extension service won't help you they will in the state of Pennsylvania what they want in the state of Minnesota. There are a few miscellaneous states that are beginning to understand that this is something that a farmer should have an alternative to go to if he wants to but so far it hasn't happened in this state. There are a few miscellaneous farming, Oregon. Nations around which will help there's one called a soil Association in Minnesota, which is a group of perhaps a hundred or hundred fifty farmers in South Western, Minnesota as a group of Nebraska group British group, of course, but it's come down to the fact that you have to learn how to do this yourself or by talking to your neighbor because the University's the land grant colleges are not yet in a position to be able to help I think if they get enough pressure they will that's I guess the first step that I see from my own personal biases of trying to break out of this bind. So I think he said it very well, but I believe me if if I'm right that the energy crisis is very real and it's going to have become increasingly severe in the next 10-15 years, where am I such a relation where change will have to occur? And the sooner you begin to adopt and understand and develop alternate. Are the better that's that's what I'd like to say to be constructed. I think at this time we'll have to cut it off. I want to thank you and for you darling just chicken.


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