March 7, 1992
Two weeks ago I received a note from Marty Strange, co-director of Center for Rural Affairs, asking that I send a copy of the correspondence I had had with the agronomy department professors at the University of Nebraska, which I had published in 1972, to Robert L. Zimdahl, a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Weed Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. I did and yesterday received a letter plus a published essay on weed science titled “A Plea for Thought.” The letter stated he had read the exchange of correspondence, which dwelt on what was happening to the fertility and life-supporting quality of the soil in a field that had been planted to corn for the plus-twenty years I had watched. Twenty years later it is still being planted to corn and yields up to 200 bushels per acre. Is this monoculture harming the life-supporting environment of the soil? Worms, grubs, ants and various insects use the soil for a living environment throughout their life cycles or, as many insects do, need the soil for a stage in their development into a flying insect. Gophers, badgers, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, burrowing owls, moles, etc., live in the ground. The soil is their home base.