"Fertilizer was so cheap in the late 50s, 60s through the 70s, they would put on a lot more than we needed. So we're buying bottled water at home because there are too much nitrates in the groundwater. In fact, there's so much that a reverse osmosis system won't take out enough. So, Barbara doesn't drink any. I mix the reverse osmosis with bottled water. So, it's a fair criticism that we have over promoted these technologies. We've over used them at home, and we've over promoted them abroad…
     "There was a soil profile in Hamilton County a few years ago which – They did, a profile clear down to groundwater. And there was enough nitrates in that profile to support seven or eight years of corn. But it was beyond the reach of the roots, but it hadn't yet gotten to groundwater… Here in York County you have still not realized the impact of the policies of the 50s and 60s because people here were using huge amounts of fertilizer. Putting on a lot more than they took off in the crop. But you're 75 feet from groundwater. And in only a few places have the excesses from the 50s and 60s reached the groundwater level. For the most part, it's still in that soil profile…
     "So, we have a 100-year problem in the Platte Valley. If we're careful and get enough rain, we can clean it up a little bit. And we've made progress under a recent program. In Hamilton and York County, you've got a 1,000-year problem before you can flush that stuff and use it through and make it work."

Don Reeves – Overusing Fertilizer


Other Excerpts from Don Reeves’ Interview:

Conscientious Objection
Off Farm Income
Raising Kids for Export
Green Rev. Legacy
Organic Farming
Silent Spring
Farming for the Gov't
Food for Peace
Lobbying for Farmers