Archive for Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Project panned

June 26, 2007


To the editor:

I was shocked to read in the Saturday, June 23, newspaper of plans for commercial development of some of the best agricultural land in all of Kansas. Please, people of Douglas County, don't let developers delude you into thinking that this "business park" near the airport is a good move for our area. It may be an excellent move for the developers' pocketbooks, but it will only hurt the county's and city's long-term interests.

This land lies in floodplain. Taxpayers and adjacent landowners will pay a heavy burden to deal with increased flooding woes that come with paving over floodplain. The proposed development, which in addition to industry is to include gas stations, restaurants - undoubtedly fast food - and similar businesses, will wreak havoc in this area. Longtime homeowners will be forced off their lands, our food security will be reduced and the quiet, peaceful nature of North Lawrence and Grant Township will be forever changed.

In addition, the development will encroach upon the ecologically sensitive Kansas University nature reserves. Roger Pine was quoted as saying that he wants to have a choice in how this area is developed. Well, so do the people of Grant Township, North Lawrence and the rest of Douglas County. Do you want to see another 23rd Street strip leading into North Seventh Street? Is paving over fertile farmland in a floodplain a good use of your tax dollars? If you think not, please join me in speaking out against this extremely misguided plan.

Deborah Altus,



Jamesaust 11 years ago

As I predicted: one of the first (of many) objections to any development is - what about our precious farmland? What do we grow on this precious farmland? Why, the same subsidized mass commodity crops we grow to excess on all other farmland: corn, wheat, soybeans. God forbid we had less of those.

Obviously, we must bulldoze all of Lawrence and allow the land to return to its natural state (and allow the humans to return to theirs ... six feet under).

"Is paving over fertile farmland in a floodplain a good use of your tax dollars?"

A most excellent use of tax dollars! Perhaps then industry and commerce would generate jobs and taxes.

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

Buy local produce and save the world: why food costs £4bn more than we think

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

03 March 2005

Every major supermarket spends millions of pounds a day making sure their warehouse-sized stores are brimming with products ranging from Kenyan mangetout to Scottish potatoes.

But the true costs of producing and transporting food to and from the supermarket shelf are far greater than any checkout receipt suggests. A study that tries for the first time to calculate the real size of our food bill has found we are indirectly spending billions of pounds a year extra on food without realising it.

Government statistics show each person in Britain spends an average of £24.79 a week on food. But if the hidden costs of transport and the impact on the environment were included, this bill would rise by 12 per cent, the study found.

Professor Jules Pretty, of Essex University, and Professor Tim Lang, of City University, in London, said another way of looking at the problem was to assess the national savings that could be made if everything was done differently.

They reckoned more than £4bn a year could be saved if farmers grew organically, farming subsidies were abolished and if consumers shopped for local produce, preferably on their bikes. The issue centres on the concept of "food miles" which refers to the distance travelled by produce from farm to fork.

The scientists tried to assess the added expense of bringing food from around the UK and the wider world to the typical British dinner table. By analysing foodstuffs, farming methods and transport policies, professors Pretty and Lang found that if all of our food came from within 20km (12.4 miles) of where we live we could save £2.1bn a year in environmental and congestion costs.

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

Specifically, organic rotation farming produced 52 percent more gross sales revenue, 110 percent more value added, and 182 percent more labor income than from the same 1,000 acres farmed using conventional corn-soybean rotation practices. According to Swenson, "the organic alternative requires greater mechanical inputs, more labor and yields a higher return to the operators. All of these factors combine to yield greater amounts of income-based economic impacts in the study region." These outcomes will hold up, he adds, even with the recent spike in corn prices as the spread between organic and conventional crop prices has remained relatively constant.

The analysis for the effective economic use of property tax abatements as an incentive for farmers to shift from conventional to organic production is not as promising. The study concludes that over a reasonable period of time, the county is not likely to recover the forgone property tax revenue used to fund the original program with sufficient new, economic impact-driven, property tax collections, as well as fund the county and public school services needed by additional workers (along with their household members) in all impacted economic sectors of the organic conversion. However, there may be important non-economic criteria in favor of a property tax inducement to alter farming practices. These would include environmental benefits, diversifying agricultural production, and supporting the development of organic foods production, processing, and consumption in the region.

When Central Soy buys(5-6 tons) 10,000-12000 lbs of organic mo-kan soybeans with each purchase that is quite a few soybeans.

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

There is a large local organic produce market in the KCMO metro for a large organic produce farmer. 7 busy natural food stores plus 15 Hen House Markets(Price Chopper).

Hey investors clean up the Pine soil with local horse manure,annual rye and composted straw then get on with it. There is no need for new infrastructure. Mr Pine has the trucks,farm gear and south of the border labor so you're set to go.

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