WPVGA’s ‘Fact Book’ is industry propaganda and junk science
To the Editor:
We thought “fake news” was confined to Washington, D.C., New York and social media. Alas it has made its way to Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) has published a BIG book titled “High Capacity Wells Fact Book.”
Most of what is contained in this “Fact Book” is industry propaganda and junk science. The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association is doing a series of “Fact Book” presentations to the Central Sands area’s county boards in an effort to prevent any meaningful support, at a county level, for a REASONABLE and EQUITABLE legislative solution to the over pumping in the Central Sands.
The WPVGA growers in the Central Sands claim they are feeding the world. Let’s look closely at the crops grown and how they are used. No. 1 crop is corn. In 2013, 40 percent went to produce ethanol, 45 percent was used to feed livestock and only 15 percent was used for food and beverage (www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/crops/outlook/cornbalancesheet.pdf).
Much of the human use is in the form of high fructose corn syrup. While fit for human consumption, nutrition experts tell us high fructose corn syrup is, in part, responsible for the epidemic of obesity and all the associated health problems related to being overweight.
Next is potatoes. According to the 2016 National Potato Organization final report, 52 percent of the potato crop is used in the production of French fries, potato chips and other snack foods. While edible, these processed foods are not high on the food pyramid for healthy eating.
Only 24 percent are consumed “fresh.” (See page 81 of www.nationalpotatocouncil.org/files/7014/6919/7938/NPCyearbook2016_-_FINAL.pdf)
The “Fact Book” has no scientist attributed as the author and makes no claim it has received any scientific vetting and review.
In one section, a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point industrial chemist attempts to blame dried lakes and streams on trees. He ignores that areas where drying lakes and streams prevail often have few trees, but lots of irrigation. The WVPGA misrepresents him as a professor (he is not), fails to mention he has no hydrology credentials, but he shares a $500,000 venture with the industry.
We trust county boards will not be fooled by this “Fact Book” and take time to perform due diligence from real experts on the claims made by agriculture.
Central Sands Water Action Coalition is not anti-agriculture. We strongly support a balanced legislative approach to our water resource usage that does not favor and advantage one group of users over others.
The Public Trust Doctrine says that the waters of the state belong to all of us. It is our collective responsibility to maintain these resources for current and future generations. Using misinformation to sway public policy is just wrong.
Wisconsin residents need to determine if ethanol and junk food are worth the cost of depleting and polluting groundwater and surface water resources in Wisconsin. We, Central Sands Water Action Coalition, do not believe it is worth the price.