Thursday, December 8, 2016

Letter To The Editor From Perdue Farms

Dear Editor,

Attached and pasted below is an op-ed authored by Steve Levitsky, Vice President, Sustainability, Perdue Farms, for your consideration.

It’s Time to the End Food Fight and Make Progress

Last month, Perdue had the opportunity to participate in two panels focused on agriculture and the Chesapeake Bay environment: the tongue-in-cheek-titled “Food Fight” sponsored by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, and “Can Food Production and a Clean Chesapeake Bay Coexist?” sponsored by the Center for Environment and Society at Washington University in Chestertown, the Sassafras River Association and Chester River Association.

Our fellow participants in these two forums included many who have been critical of agriculture and poultry production:  the Virginia Eastern SHOREKEEPER, the Environmental Working Group, Fair Farms Coalition and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. We were joined by Trey Hill, a Maryland grain farmer recognized for progressive environmental practices, representatives of local food production and sourcing and academic experts.

That sounds like a line-up for a “food fight.” Except, we all came to this recognizing we have common ground – literal common ground: the Delmarva Peninsula and its farms.

There was general agreement that no single food system—large or small, local or mass-distributed, organic or conventional – is inherently more sustainable, or the one answer for the future.  We need them all to support a diverse farm economy and to meet market demands. As Josh Hastings, Policy Manager of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, said, “We have the opportunity to create our own vision” for the future of Delmarva agriculture.

Both events were in stark contrast to what we often see in the news. Absent was finger pointing. There was recognition of the progress made in many areas, including agriculture. We didn’t agree on everything, but there was a clear sense that continued progress in cleaning up the Bay requires working together to address all the sources of run-off, including lawn fertilizer, storm water, failing wastewater treatment plants, land-applied sewage sludge and chemical and natural farm fertilizer.

We want to thank the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, the Sassafras River Association, the Chester River Association and the Center for Environment and Society for creating forums where diverse panelists, varied stakeholders and broad audiences came together to talk about that future vision. We appreciated the opportunity to participate, and look forward to being part of similar events.

We also promise to keep improving, just as we have been recycling poultry litter, eliminating all routine use of antibiotics, changing the way we think about raising animals and expanding organic production. Likewise, Delmarva’s farmers have implemented environmentally friendly best practices, and continue to do so.

All too often, we hear only the shouting at the extreme ends, with confrontation, the laying of blame and defensiveness making headlines. Progress, however, will come from those who want to move toward a productive common ground. As we look forward to a New Year, let’s resolve that it’s time to end the food fight and work together for Delmarva, agriculture and the environment.

Steve Levitsky, Vice President, Sustainability


Anonymous said...

Wonderful, good work! With President Trump in place everything will improve. I live in a development where people use all kinds of chemicals on their lawns, can't be any good for ground water or the bay. I don't use anything and have what I call "Indian Grass" cut and trimmed in the growing season it looks beautiful with zero chemicals. After all it is the same grass the Indians (Native Americans) walked on hundreds of years ago.

Anonymous said...

Yes, with Trump the EPA and FDA had better get in line with working with big business and get away from the damn tree huggers.....they have made it so unfair against business that they can't afford to do any expansion! Can't wait for January 21, 2017!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"As Josh Hastings, Policy Manager of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, said, “We have the opportunity to create our own vision” for the future of Delmarva agriculture."

Is this the same Lying Liberal Josh Hastings that came to my church and told us all that he was a Republican??