Saturday, January 03, 2009

Save the Bay with Alpacas?

Couple of interesting, confluent articles in the Washington Post (WAPO) today.

First is the editorial entitled "Failure on the Chesapeake Bay", which very frankly segments the tasks required to clean up the Chesapeak Bay into four main areas - aggressively regulating farm runoff (of nitrogen-based pesticides and livestock waste), enforce maximums on daily loads of wastewater from municipalities and businesses allowed to be pumped into the Bay, limit the catch of oysters and crabs by Watermen, and mandating "green-building" techniques for new commercial and residential construction. While these task seem pretty straightforward and clear, there's a considerable lack of cross-the-board political will to create and enforce the absolute regulations (not negotiations) required.

The second article was about the Southern Maryland (Bushwood) "Moore or Less Farm" (find it at the Southern Maryland Agriculture Development Commission farms directory), and Jim Moore's (owner) shift in farming operations away from production of traditional livestock (mostly raised for slaughter) to Alpacas...these llama-like animals are raised for their renewable wool, plus their much-reduced appetite for costly feed. The article further details how many farmers, seeking more profitable returns in the face of declining prices and increasing costs, are turning to greenhouse-grown vegetables, grain, specialty animals like the Alpacas, agri-tourism and jobs off the farm.

These two imperatives, to both "Save the Bay" and "Save the Farms" are inexorably intertwined, it's seemingly clear.

Read more at Patuxent River Online...

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