Farmers commit to protecting the environment
As Kentuckians observed Earth Day 2013, it seemed the perfect occasion to assure consumers that American farmers remain committed to preserving the environment for the next generation.
Even if their observations are no more formal than digging their hands into the soil or watching a covey of game birds nest down in a buffer strip, farmers do notice change.
They understand the close relationship between farming practices and natural resources. They accept this mission with a good measure of professionalism, realizing that their productive land is neither limitless nor inexhaustible.
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Kentucky is a national leader in the use of conservation practices. For nearly 20 years we've had an innovative, landmark program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers in need of implementing conservation practices. Thanks to this program, a good number of other conservation measures have been taken by farmers.
These techniques to protect waterways are mandated by an Agricultural Water Quality Law widely regarded as a model for other states.
While it may surprise some, farmers don't ignore environmental challenges. Virtually every farm organization has implemented programs to encourage cooperative leadership on environmental issues, particularly in regard to water quality issues. Kentucky farmers have embraced this crucial job of safeguarding our land and water. It requires close attention, but it's something that farmers cannot and will not overlook.
President, Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation
The April 15 article, "Dog's stigma is bull," in which owners of "bully dogs," including pit bulls, say their dogs are mischaracterized as dangerous, predictably mischaracterizes the danger.
In another state, my 5-year-old son was walking our Shetland sheepdog on a leash when two pit bulls attacked them, resulting in a traumatized boy who saw his dog literally shredded.
After thousands of dollars of vet bills, hundreds of hours of care, a Sheltie with three legs and more than a year in court, out of necessity I became well-informed about dog attacks, particularly pit bull and pit bull mix attacks.
Our Sheltie was bred and genetically predisposed to herd and it was fun and interesting to watch her herd our kids in the backyard. Later, my golden retriever and yellow Labrador did not have to be trained to retrieve because they were bred and had a genetic predisposition to retrieve.
Rarely does a pit bull owner know the pedigree of their dog. Nationwide, pit bulls and pit bull mixes have been bred to fight and, over time, aggressive genetic predisposition has developed. This degree varies from dog to dog. Is it hair-triggered, passive, dormant? Don't know, but it is there.
How to save space
I have a suggestion as to how the Herald-Leader could save ink, column inches and reader's time: Stop printing letters from people, first, who don't know the difference between weather and climate (someone recently tried to trash the global warming facts by suggesting that it had been a cool spring), and second, people who think the Second Amendment only consists of the words "shall not be infringed," overlooking the phrase: "a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state."
Soda's role is clear
When I read the April 7 letter from the Kentucky Beverage Association representative titled "Don't blame soft drinks for obesity," I knew I had to respond.
Kentucky has the third-highest rate of childhood obesity, and education about soda's role in this epidemic is necessary to turn this around. The letter tried to obfuscate the role of soda in obesity but left out some important facts:
■ An extra soft drink a day gives a child a 60 percent greater chance of becoming obese.
■ A typical 20-ounce soda contains 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar and upwards of 240 calories. According to the American Heart Association, women should limit added sugars to only 6 teaspoons per day while men should take in no more than 9 teaspoons per day.
■ People who drink this "liquid candy" do not feel as full as if they had eaten the same calories from solid food, and do not compensate by eating less.
■ People who consume sugary drinks regularly have a 26 percent greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks.
■ Each year, soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks are associated with about 180,000 preventable deaths worldwide and 25,000 deaths in the United States.
The letter writer gets paid to try to convince us that soda is harmless, but it's important to recognize her organization's mission is to revive slumping sales. Look beyond the PR spin and study the science for yourself.