>Hi -forgive me if I'm raising an issue this thread has already dealt with,
but speaking of the >Demeter association, prions and BSE (re: Michelle's
and others' postings), how concerned >are most organic farmers about
applying animal manures? What do you all think about >this issue? How does
one know (if it is even widely considered cause for concern) whether
>prions are present in a given lot of manure - or are they omnipresent?
This here organic farmer is concerned, but not because she is worried that
her locally obtained dairy manure and trucked-in broiler litter is likely
to be carrying the mad-cow disease organism. Dairy cows tend to live longer
than beef cattle, giving the symptoms of mad-cow disease a chance to show
up. The prion leap from mammals to birds is quite large, so I'm not too
worried there, either.
But I *am* concerned that the consuming public will very quickly be asking
if any manure is used in the production of my crops. And it is, of course,
because it makes eminent good sense to do so. I've already had this
discussion, in great depth, with a number of customers who pursue vegan
lifestyles or are sympathetic with the animal-rights movement, and are
uncomfortable with the idea that their food is grown with the help of
nutrients from animal waste. I don't think they'd be any more comfortable
with nutrients from human waste, but that's another issue.
I dunno. What's safe enough? Where do we get what we need to supply
nutrients in the quantity we need them? We grow leguminous cover crops, of
course, but an intensively cultivated vegetable farm needs a bit more than
that. Our organic bagged fertilizer is little more than composted and
>I think it's quite odd (and again, sorry if someone's made this
observation) that organic farmers are being urged to legitimize sludge when
even conventional farmers don't want to touch it. Sounds back-asswards to
No sludge will be legitimized on this farm. The baggage there much heavier
and more verifiable than the very distant threat of mad-cow. But I *am*
concerned about public reaction to this news, and I'm awaiting Dennis
Avery's latest pronouncement. (Oh, boy, I can hardly wait....)
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