This letter originally was published in the Des Moines Register on May 23rd, 2017
It was a big mistake to create the ‘Iowa Nutrient Research Center’
I was serving on the advisory board of the Leopold Center when Iowa State University created yet another center.
It was big mistake to create the “Iowa Nutrient Research Center.” It renamed the tragedy of industrial agriculture (soil erosion, water pollution, deliberate evading of public health and labor laws by multinational meat packing plants or by absentee owned egg factories, public health threats from massive hog confinement operations, pesticides and fertilizer in drinking water, manure spills, etc. ) as simply a “nutrient” problem.
Clearly, nutrients leaking from modern agriculture is a symptom of a cropping system that is inherently leaky, meaning there isn’t a whole lot farmers can do to stop the leak. That leaky cropping system has been planned and incentivized by federal programs, shaped by global grain merchants who also happen to control all grain markets as well as seeds and inputs. It is well-documented that it is this system, this colonizing economy, that continues to lead to rural decline.
— Kamyar Enshayan, director, Center for Energy & Environmental Education, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls