Pollution on the Family Farm Threatens the Environment

1129 Words5 Pages
Pollution on the Family Farm

When you think of pollution you think of industrial pollution running down a river, or smoke coming out of a factory’s smokestack rising up into the environment. These are all concerns in the world today; however, in this paper will talk about pollution that hits a little closer to home. This paper will discuss about pollution on family run farms in rural America. These pollutions range from private well water contamination to fecal pollution run-off into streams by dairy and beef farms.

One of the major concerns in today’s Agricultural system is the use of water, and the short supply of water. A more immediate problem is nitrate contamination in millions of private well around the country. As one can imagine most of these wells are found on private farms around the United States. Nationally 1.4 million households drink water from private wells with nitrate levels that exceed the federal drinking water standard of 10 parts per million (ppm)( Ready, R., & Henken, K.). There is an estimated damage to a household from drinking water from a nitrate contaminated well to be $635 per year, with a total damage of almost $900 million per year to private well owners (Ready, R., & Henken, K.). Over 25% of the water used by households in the United States comes from groundwater.

One of the major sources of nitrates in groundwater is caused by agricultural activities, including chemicals applied to crops and waste from livestock production (Ready, R., & Henken, K.). The main problem with livestock waste and chemicals is their tendency to diffuse in water, which means they cannot be easily contained or pinpointed to the source. According to a study by the Great Plains Agricultural Council, agricultural land is the largest contributor of non-point source pollution to natural water resources in the High Plains region and throughout the United States. In this survey they found that Nitrate-N was the most commonly detected agricultural chemical in surface and groundwater (Elrashidi, M., Mays, M., Peaslee, S., & Hooper, D.)

Another topic that ties into pollution and threatens water resources is agricultural subsidies provided by the government. A report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says that “Agricultural subsidies threaten land and water resources and create artificial incentives to expand farm production” (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

More about Pollution on the Family Farm Threatens the Environment

Open Document