We praise Valley farmers as innovators always finding ways to increase the bounty. But there are downsides. They abandoned sustainable farming to use nitrogen-based fertilizer. Nitrogen can contaminate groundwater. That can cause cancer and other serious health effects.
So the state made a regulation requiring farmers to document how much nitrogen-based fertilizer they use. This does not sound like excessive regulation a la the kangaroo rat. This sounds like government doing its job to protect the public health.
Farmers are defying the law.
“There’s people saying, ‘I’m tired of this, and I don’t want the water board involved with my operation, and I’m going to chance it,’ ” a Merced County Farm Bureau told a Merced paper.
“I don’t want the water board involved with my operation” — a classic expression of Valley farmers’ overboard property rights fundamentalism. They see no connection to broader society. Farmers choosing to be willfully blind to the web of life. That’s so ironic.