MEETING # 1558
OCTOBER 19, 1995
Conquest of the Land?
by Robert M. Knight
Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public
This paper looks at different places in the world as to why certain
regions are still productive and others known to be rich agricultural areas are today
In a world increasing in population, how are the food needs to be met,
without materially decreasing the standard of living. The paper tells how unenlightened
property taxing of citrus groves in Redlands caused so many acres of orange groves to be
abandoned, and subdivisions built on them from 1950 to 1970. The Endangered Species Act of
1973 and its effect on agriculture in general is discussed.
BACKGROUND OF THE AUTHOR
Robert Mackenzie Knight was born in Red-, California in 1922. He
attended the Redlands School System, graduating from Redlands High School in 1939 He
graduated from the University of Redlands in May of 1943, and immediately reported to
Notre Dame University in South Bend, In. as a U. S. Navy midshipmen.
m e author served four years of active duty with the USN in the South Pacific and
Philippine Islands in the protection of ships from Magnetic mines. At the end of the war,
he returned to Redlands and married Winifred Peters of Redlands. He bought his first
orange grove where he still lives today in the Crafton area.
As a result of the citrus freeze of 1949, he returned to the U of R to
get his teaching credential. He taught in the public schools of Redlands for two years;
then taught for 25 more years in San Bernardino. He has taught classes at both San
Bernardino Valley College and Crafton Hills College.
In 1977 he retired from teaching to devote full time to his kiwi fruit
growing and packing business which he started in 1971.
Conquest of the Land?
In 1939 as a senior at Redlands High School, I was required to write
senior term paper as a requirement for graduation from that institution. Pro Herbert
Woodruff, a member of the Fortnightly Club, was the teacher of the Civics class in which
this paper was required. He had prepared a list of suitable topics for this term paper.
Among these suggested topics was one entitled, "The Profitable Use of Leisure
Time". I must have had leisure time in those days, but I don't recall it being a
problem to me. The topic I selected was, "The Importance of Soil Conservation in
Southern California" Little did I realize that 56 years later I would be presenting
my paper, "Conquest of the Land?", before the Fortnightly Club on an enlarged
viewpoint of soil and water conservation for all of the world, as I am this afternoon.
This paper presents my viewpoint on the importance of soil and water
conservation as practiced by me on my ranch for the last 49 years. Ten of these 49 years I
served as president of the East Valley Resource Conservation District.
In 1939, Or S. C. Lowdenmilk, formerly Asst. Chief of the U. S. Soil
Conservation Service studied the record of agriculture in countries where the land had
been under cultivation for hundreds, even thousands of years. His immediate mission was to
find out if the experience of these older civilizations could help in solving the serious
soil erosion and land use problems in the United States, then struggling with repair of
the Dust Bowl and the gullied South.
He discovered that soil erosion, deforestation, overgrazing, neglect,
and conflicts between cultivators and herdsman have helped topple empires an wipe out
entire civilizations. At the same time, he learned that careful stewardship of the earth's
resources through terracing, crop rotation, and supplied 80,000 lumber jacks and 70,000
laborers to skid the logs to the sea. It must have been a heavy forest to require such a
labor force. This forest once covered nearly 2000 square miles.
Dr. Lowdermilk found only four small groves of the famous Lebanon cedar
forests left. The most important of which is the Tripoli grove of trees. Studying tree
rings it was found that about 300 years ago there were only 43 of these veteran trees
left. About this time , a little church was built in their midst that made the grove
sacred. A stone wall was built about the grove to keep out the goats that grazed over the
mountains. Seeds from the veteran trees fell to the ground, germinated and grew up into a
grove of fine, close growing stand of tall straight trees. This showed how the cedars of
Lebanon will make good construction timber when grown in forest conditions.
Such Natural restocking shows that this famous forest had not
disappeared because of adverse change of climate, but that under the present climate it
would extend itself if it were safeguarded against rapacious goats that graze down every
accessible living plant on these mountains.
Mesopotamia, the traditional site of the Garden of Eden, out of which
come the stories of the Flood, of Noah and the Ark, of the "Tower of Babel" and
the confusion of tongues ,is jotted full of records of a glorious past, of dense
populations, and of great cities that are now ruins and desolation. For at least eleven
empires have risen and fallen in this tragic land in 7000 years. It is a story of a
precarious agriculture practiced by people who lived and grew up under the threat of raids
and invasions from the denizens of grasslands and the desert, and of the failure of their
irrigation canals because of silt.
Agriculture was practiced in a very dry climate by canal irrigation with
muddy water from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. This muddy water was the undoing of
empire after empire. As muddy river waters slowed down, they choked up the canals with
silt. It was necessary to keep this silt out of the canals year after year to supply
life-giving waters to farm lands and cities of the plain.
As populations grew, canals were dug farther and farther from the
rivers. This great system of canals called for a great force of hand labor to keep them
clean of silt. The rulers of Babylon brought in war captives for this task. Now we
understand why the captive Israelites "sat down by the waters of Babylon and
wept." They also were, doubtless, required to dig the silt out of the canals of
As these great public works of cleaning silt out of canals were
interrupted from time to time by internal revolutions and by foreign invaders, the peoples
of Mesopotamia were brought face to face with disaster in canals choked with silt.
Stoppage of these canals by silt , depopulated villages and cities more effectively than
the slaughter of people by an invading army.
Moses, after having led the Israelites through forty years of wandering
in the wilderness stood on Mt. Nebo and looked across the Jordan Valley to the Promised
Land, described it to his followers in words like these:
"For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of waters, of
fountains, and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley and
vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land wherein thou
shall eat bread without scarceness; thou shalt not lack anything in it; a land whose
stones are iron and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.".
Lowdermilk looked at the Promised Land as it is today, 3000 years after
Moses described it to the Israelites as a "land flowing with milk and honey." He
found the soils of red earth washed off the slopes to bedrock over more than half the
upland area. These soils had lodged in the valleys where they are still being cultivated
and are still being eroded by great gullies that cut through the alluvium with every heavy
rain. Evidence of rocks washed off the hills were found in piles of stones where tillers
of soil had heaped them together to make cultivation about them easier. From the air we
read with startling vividness the graphic story as written on the land. Soils had been
washed off to bedrock in the vicinity of Hebron and only dregs of the land were left
behind in narrow valley floors, still cultivated to meager crops
In the denuded highlands of Judea are ruins of abandoned village sites.
Capt. P.L. Guy, director of the British school of Archaeology, has studied in detail those
sites found in the drainage of Wadi Musrara that were occupied 1500 years ago. Since that
time they have been depopulated and abandoned in greater numbers on the upper slopes.
Capt. Guy divided the drainage of Musrara into three attitudinal zones: the plain, the
foothills, and mountains. In the plains 34 sites were occupied and 4 abandoned; In the
foothills 31 were occupied and 65 abandoned; and in the mountains, 37 were occupied and
124 abandoned. In other words, villages have thus been abandoned in the 3 zones by
percentages in the above order of 11, 67, and 77, which agrees well with the removal of
It is little wonder that villages were abandoned in a landscape such as
this in the upper zone near Jerusalem. The soil, the source of food supply, -has been
wasted away by erosion. Only remnants of the land left in drainage channels are held there
by cross walls of stone.
Lowdermilk in his travels visited China. In North China he visited the site where the
Yellow River! in 1852, broke from its enormous system of inner and outer dikes. As he
traveled across the plains of Honan, he saw a great flat-topped hill looming up before
him. He traveled on over this elevated plain for seven miles to another great dike that
stretched across the landscape from horizon to horizon. He climbed this dike and there
before him lay the Yellow River in a channel fully forty to fifty feet above the plain of
the great delta. This great river known for thousands of years as "China's
Sorrow" had been lifted up off the plain over the entire 400 mile course across its
delta and had been held in this channel by hand labor of men without machines or engines,
without steel cables, or construction timber, and without stone.
Millions of Chinese farmers with bare hands and baskets had built here
through thousands of years a stupendous monument to human cooperation and the will to
survive. For 4000 years the battle of floods with this tremendous river have been lost and
won time and again.
In 1852 the yellow-brown waters of this river broke over its dikes near
Kaifeng, Honan and wandered to the northeast over farm lands, destroying villages and
smothering the life out of millions of humans, and discharged into the Gulf of Chihli, 400
miles north of its former outlet. In its rage it had refused to be lifted any higher off
its plain. Hundreds of thousands of farmers had been defeated. Silt had defeated them,
valiant as they were. Lowdermilk determined to learn where this silt came from even up to
In a series of carefully planned agricultural explorations, he
discovered the source of the silt that brought ruin to million of farmers in the plains.
In the Province of Shansi he found how the line of cultivation was pushed up slopes,
following the clearing away of forests. Soils formerly protected by a forest mantle, were
thus exposed to summer rains, and soil erosion began a headlong process of destroying land
and filling streams with soil waste and debris. Temple forests, preserved and protected by
the Buddhist priests gave him and his Chinese associates a remarkable chance to measure
and compare rates of erosion within these forests and on similar slopes and soils that had
been cleared and cultivated. He found that run-off and erosion from cleared land were many
times as great as from temple forests.
It was clear that if the farmers of the delta plain were ever to be
safeguarded from the mounting perils of the silt-laden Yellow River, the source of the
silt must be stopped by erosion control.
ACROSS NORTH AFRICA
Along the northern coast of Africa into Tunisia and Algeria, Lowdermilk
read the record of the granary of Rome during the empire- by surveying a cross section
from the Mediterranean to the Sahara Desert, from 40 inches of rainfall to 4 inches from
Carthage on the coast to Biskra at the edge of the Sahara.
In Tunisia, Lowdermilk found that it rains in the desert of North Africa
in wintertime now as it did in the time of Caesar In 44 B.C. Caesar complained of how a
great rainstorm with wind had blown over the tents of his army encampment and flooded the
camp. Lowdermilk witnessed flash floods that caused muddy waters to sweep across the
highway to such an extent that he decided to wait for the flash flow to go down before
He stood on the site of ancient Carthage, the principal city of North
Africa in Phoenician and Roman times, the city that produced Hannibal and came a dangerous
rival of Rome. In 146 B.C., at the end of the Third Punic war, Scipio destroyed Carthage,
but out of the doomed city he saved 28 volumes of a work an Agriculture written by a
Carthaginian by the name of Mago.
Mago was recognized by the Greeks and Ramans as the foremost authority
an agriculture in the Mediterranean area. These works of Mago on agricultural subjects
were translated by such Roman writers as Columella, Varro, and Cato. The translations tell
us that the traditions of conserving soil and water, discovered on the slopes of ancient
Phoenicia ,had been brought there by colonists. 10wdermilk suspected that these measures
furnished the basis of the great agricultural production that was so important to the
Ramans during the Empire.
Over a large part of the ancient granary of Rome, he found the soil
washed off to bedrock and the hills seriously gullied as a result of overgrazing. Most
valley floors are still cultivated but are eroding in great gullies fed by accelerated
storm runoff from barren slopes. This was in an area that supported many great cities in
At Djemilia, Lowdenmilk found the remains of a city that was once great
and populous, and rich but later was covered completely, except for about 3 feet of a
single column, by erosion debris washed off the slopes of surrounding hills. For 20 years
French archaeologists had been excavating this remarkable Roman City and had unearthed
great temples, two great forums, splendid Christian churches, and great warehouses for
wheat and olive oil. All this had been buried by erosional debris washed from the eroding
slopes above the city. The surrounding slopes, once covered with olive groves, are now cut
up with active gullies.
The modern village houses only a few inhabitants. The flat lands are
still farmed to grain but the slopes are bare and eroding and wasting away.
What is the reason for this astounding decline and ruin? Is this not an
example of Conquest by the Land, rather than Conquest of the Land?
Lowdermilk, then proceeded farther to the south and stopped to study the
ruins of another great Raman City of North Africa, Thamugad; now called Timgad. This city
was founded by Trajan in the first century A.D. It was laid out in symmetrical pattern and
adorned with magnificent buildings, with a forum embellished by statuary and carved
porticoes, a public library, a theater to seat 2,500 persons, 17 great Roman baths, and
marble flush toilets for the public.
After the invasion of the nomads in the seventh century had completed
the destruction of the city and dispersal of its population, this great center of Raman
culture and power was lost to knowledge for 1200 years. It was buried by the dust of wind
erosion from surrounding farm lands until only a portion of Hadrian's arch and three
columns remained like tombstones above the undulating mounds to indicate that once a great
city was there. The French Government has been excavating this great center for 30 years.
Remarkable examples of building, of art, and ways of living during Raman times in North
Africa have been disclosed, all supported by the agriculture of the Granary of Rome.
Today this great center of power and culture of the Raman Empire is
desolation. It is represented by a modern village of only a few hundred inhabitants who
lived in squalid structures, the walls of which are for the most part built of stone
quarried f ram the ruins of the ancient city. Water erosion has cut a gully down into the
land and exposed an ancient aqueduct that supplied water to the city of Timgad from a
great spring same three miles away.
Within and surrounding Timgad, Lowdenmilk studied remarkable ruins of
great olive presses where today there is not a single olive tree within the circle of the
On the plains of Tunisia, Lowdenmilk visited El Jem where he came upon
the ruins of a great amphitheater second only in size to that of the Coliseum in Rome. It
was built to seat some 60.000 people, but it would be difficult to find some 5000 persons
today within this district. The ancient city now lies buried around the amphitheater and a
sordid modern village is built on top of the buried city.
What was the cause of the decadence of North Africa and the decline of
its population? Some students have suggested that the climate changed and became drier,
forcing people to abandon their remarkable cities and works. But Gsell, a renowned
geologist who had studied this problem for 40 years, challenged the conclusion that the
climate has changed in any important way since Roman times.
Director Hodet of the Archaeological Excavations at Timgad decided as an
experiment to plant olive trees on an unexcavated part of the city where there would be no
possibility of sub irrigation. He planted young olive trees in the manner prescribed in
Roman literature, watering them in the following two long dry summer seasons. These olive
trees are thriving, indicating that where soils are still in place, olive trees will grow
today probably very much as they did in Roman times.
On the plains about Sfax, ruins of olive presses were found by early
travelers but no olive trees. Some years ago an experiment to plant olive trees there was
decided upon. Now more than 150,000 acres are planted to olive trees; their products
support thriving industries in the modern city of Sfax. These plantings indicate that the
climate of today has not become significantly drier since Roman times.
Some students of this baffling problem have suggested that pulsations of
climate with intervening dry periods sufficient to blot out civilization of North Africa
have taken place. Such undoubtedly could have been the case, but as Lowdermilk goes on to
say that he found telling evidence on this point in an olive grove that has survived since
Roman times. These olive trees were at least 1,500 years old.
On hillsides between Timgad and Constantine, Lowdenmilk found on the
land a record that indicates what has happened to soils of the granary of ancient Rome. He
found some hills, that according to the botanists, were covered with Savannah vegetation
of scattered trees and grass. This vegetation had conserved a layer of soil on these hills
for unknown ages. With the coming of a grazing culture, brought in by invading nomads of
Arabia, erosion was unleashed by overgrazing of the hills. It can be seen here an the
landscape how the soil mantle was washed off the upper slopes to bed rock. Accelerated run
off from the bared rock cut gullies into the upper edge of the soil mantle working it
downhill as if a great rug were being pulled off the hills.
The accumulation of torrential flows during winter storms is cutting
great gullies through the alluvial plains just as it does in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah
of our own country. The effect of this is to lower the water table, bringing about the
effects of desiccation without reduction in rainfall.
In this manner the country has been seriously damaged, and its capacity
to support a population much reduced. Unleashed and uncontrolled soil erosion is
sufficient to undermine a civilization, as was found in North China as well. Is this
Conquest of the Land, or Conquest by the Land?
The story of Lowdenmilk's visits to Ancient Cypress, Italy, France,
Holland, and England are too lengthy to go into detail for this paper. Yet the things he
observed led him to resolve to run down the nature of soil erosion and to devote his
lifetime to study ways of conserving the lands on which mankind depends.
In regards to our own country, Lowdermilk states that along the Atlantic
Coast in the Piedmont we find charming landscapes of fields with red soils and glowing
grain fields. But in the midst we find an insidious enemy devouring the land- stealing it
away, before we are aware of it, by sheet erosion. Rain by rain washes the soil down into
the streams and out to the sea. Sheet erosion, marked by shallow numberless rills in our
fields, is blotted out by each plowing.
We forget what is happening to the good earth until we measure these
soil and water losses. More than 300 million acres out of our 400 odd million acres of
farm fields are now eroding faster than soil is being formed. That means destruction of
the land if erosion is not controlled.
Measurements through five years at the Statesville, North Carolina
Erosion Experiment Station show that, on an 8% slope, land in fallow without cropping lost
each year an average of 29% of rainfall in immediate runoff and 64 tons
of soil per acre in wash off of soil.
This means that in 17 years, 7 inches of soil( the average depth of top
soil) would be washed away. Under continuous cropping to cotton, as was once the general
practice in this region, the land lost an average of 10% of its rainfall and 22 tons of
soil per acre per year. At this rate it would take 44 years to erode away 7 inches of
Here in a nutshell, so to speak, we have the underlying hazard of civilization. By
clearing and cultivating sloping lands, for most of our lands are more or less sloping, we
expose soils to accelerated erosion by water and wind. In doing this we enter upon a
regime of self-destructive agriculture. The dire results of this suicidal agriculture have
in the past been escaped by migration to a new land, or where this was not possible, by
terracing slopes with rock walls as was done in ancient Phoenicia, Peru, and China. Escape
to new land is no longer a way out. We are brought face to face today with the necessity
of finding out how to establish permanent agriculture on our farms under cultivation
before they are damaged beyond reclamation, and before the food supply of a growing
population becomes deficient.
At the start of this paper I mentioned the importance of food and how in
the last reckoning all things are purchased with food. The very Foundation of our complex
social structure is the partnership between the land and the farmer.
In the San Bernardino Sun of Feb. 22,1994 was an article illustrating
the importance of the previous paragraph. This article was entitled, "Prosperity
hinges on Population, study says,"
"The world's population must be reduced to 2 billion by the year
2100 to avoid famine, poverty, and disease, an ecologist claims." From San Francisco,
Paul Raeburn of the Associated Press states: "Earth's land, water and cropland are
disappearing so rapidly that the world population must be slashed to 2 billion or less by
2100 to provide prosperity for all in that year, says a study released Monday. The
alternative, if current trends continue, is a population of 12 billion to 15 billion
people and an apocalyptic world wide scene of absolute misery, poverty, disease and
starvation said the study's author, David Pimentel, an ecologist at Cornell University. In
the United States, the population would climb to 500 million and the standard of living
would decline to slightly better than in present day China, Pimental said at the annual
meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Even now, the world population of 6 billion is at least three times what
the Earth's battered natural resources and depleted energy reserves would be able to
support comfortably in 2100, Pimental said. Pimental defines comfortably support, as
providing something close to the current American standard of living, but with wiser use
of energy and natural resources. Under his scenario, then, if the world's population
dropped to 2 billion, most people's standard of living would improve." If people do
not intelligently control their own numbers nature will, That we can count on, he said.
"Although a decline to 1 billion or 2 billion people over the next
century sounds nearly impossible, it could be done by limiting families around the world
to an average of 1.5 children, Pimental said.
Currently, U.S. women have an average of 2.1 children as do the Swedes.
The average birthrate in Rwanda is 8.5, Saudi Arabia, 6.4,Bolivia and Mongolia, 4.6;
Argentina, 2.8; Germany, 1.5; Hong Kong, 1.4; Italy, 1.3, according to the United Nation's
State of the World Population Report.
Depletion of coal, oil and natural gas, along with uranium reserves, are
one important limit on the number of people that can survive comfortably on Earth, he
The other two key limiting factors are cropland and water for
irrigation, he said. Each of the three factors considered separately, leads to a
calculation of a comfortably sustainable population of 1 billion to 2 billion in 2100,
How then can we manage our farm lands for an enduring agriculture? To
safeguard our soils on slopes where soil erosion is the hazard, we should (1) increase the
rainwater intake capacity of the soil by retaining crop litter at the surface, soil
improvement, crop rotations, and strip cropping on the contour, and (2) lead away
unabsorbed storm waters in channels of broad based terraces into outlet channels and then
into natural drainage channels. Control of wind erosion should be based on a suiting of
the land's use to its capabilities and conserving all or most all of the rain that falls
on it. This calls for contour farming except on flat lands. Appropriate measures include
strip shelter belts of crops, tillage practices that leave crop litter or residue at the
surface, and rotations suited to moisture supplies in the
If the soil is destroyed, then our liberty of choice and action is gone,
condemning this and future generations to needless privations and dangers. So big is this
job- of saving our good land from further damage and of reclaiming to some useful purpose
vast areas of seriously damaged land- that full cooperation of farmers with technical
leadership of the Government is not only desirable, abut necessary if we are to survive.
For this worthy purpose, the Resource Conservation Districts have been formed working with
the newly named Natural Resources Conservation Service. As of the present date the U.S.
Government spends $3.00 per person per year to attain these aims. Considering that the
very lives of successive generations are at stake, does this $3.00 per day not seem a
paltry amount to assure an adequate food supply to our posterity?
Lowdermilk suggests that if Moses had foreseen what was to become of the
promised land after 3000 years- if he had foreseen what suicidal agriculture would do to
the land of the holy earth, he might have given an "Eleventh Commandment" as
"Thou shalt inherit the Holy Earth as a faithful steward,
conserving its resources and productivity from generation to generation. Thou shalt
safeguard thy fields from soil erosion, thy living waters from drying up, thy forests from
desolation, and protect thy hills from overgrazing by thy herds, that thy descendants may
have abundance forever. If any shall fail in this stewardship of the land thy fruitful
fields shall become sterile stony ground and wasting gullies, and thy descendants shall
decrease and live in poverty or perish from off the face of the earth."
As a farmer for the past forty-nine years, I believe the Conquest of the
Land for farming purposes is going down hill rapidly. At one time Redlands was once
advertised as "The Navel Orange Center of the World". This was proclaimed on a
sign on Redlands Boulevard at Caroline Park. now the site is occupied by the Eternal Flame
One cause for the loss of the title, Navel Orange Center of the World,
was due to the unenlightened property tax policy of the City of Redlands. Between 1950 and
1970 hundreds of acres of citrus were replanted with houses. Property taxes were assessed
under a policy which taxed property according to the " highest and best use" of
that property. Houses were considered the "highest and best use" so that the
owner of a ten acre orange grove was assessed on the basis of what tax money the city
would receive if that land were occupied by ten acres of house. Needless to say, under
this arrangement Orange County developers were greeted with open arms by the citrus
growers who sold their groves to escape the high taxes that ate up all their returns.
Today, we read about the pressure on the City Council to do something
about the odors and flies from the Arnott chicken ranch on Pioneer Ave. That chicken ranch
has been there for years and years. I remember when there were only two houses on the
north side of Pioneer Ave. between Church Street and Judson Street. With many more houses
in that area today there are many more people to complain to the Council about the chicken
Citrus growers used dairy or steer manure to provide nitrogen for their
citrus trees. Truckloads of manure by the hundreds used to be dumped beside the roadside
waiting to be spread in the groves. One fertilizer salesman was noted for his signs
advertising his product by putting, "Frank Schafer has been here". Once the
fertilizer had been spread in the grove, the smell would permeate the whole area for a
mile or so for weeks, unless a good rain came shortly after the spreading of the manure.
We used to say that the fertilizer smelled to high heaven when it came
from a neighbors orange grove, but that it smelled good coming from your own place.
Smudging the citrus crops as they did in the freezes of 1937, 1949, and
1963 would not be tolerated today. In 1937 cars were driving downtown with their
headlights on full at noon because of the darkness caused by the burning of old rubber
tires and smudge pots in the citrus groves. The old Redlands High School was shut down for
a day or two because all the classroom did no not have electric lights sufficient to
penetrate the darkness from the smoke.
Another problem that makes me think we are losing out in The Conquest of
the Land is the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. This act has attempted to use
authoritarian threats, and sometimes sheer force in the name of species protection. Courts
have ruled that under the act the government's primary responsibility is the protection of
species, regardless of cost or impacts to landowners.
What began in 1973 as a noble idea with very worthy intentions has today
become an absolute rule, gone absolutely out of control. Rather than allowing humans to
seek ways to peacefully co-exist with nature, the act has become a tool to deny citizens
their freedom and their property. Enforcement of the act has halted economic and
Under the guise of species protection, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
personnel have assumed supreme authority deciding whether building, farming logging, or
even walking the land will be allowed. Unfortunately, such decisions are not based on
sound, unbiased, scientific evidence. Government officials have acted as if there are no
limits, as though they are exempt from budgetary concerns and economic hardships which the
act nay impose.
The ESA and its wide reaching enforcement powers have touched every
aspect of American Life. In October of 1993, 29 homes in Riverside County were destroyed
by fire. Home owners in the area were prevented from dishing their land to create
firebreaks because the land was protected habitat for the Stephen's kangaroo rat. This
fire displaced 29 families and destroyed the habitat Fish and Wildlife was trying to
preserve. In Texas, protection of the golden-checked warbler and 19 other species has been
largely blamed for a $5.1 billion erosion in land value. c Construction of the world's
largest and most powerful binocular telescope has been halted in Arizona because of the Mt
Graham red squirrel. The orange County Freeway bypass has been stymied because it passes
through the habitat of the Orange County gnatcatcher. The new San Bernardino County
Hospital to be built just west of Colton has been stalled because 7 Delhi flies were found
in the area. The Ontario International Airport's runway lengthening project has been
stopped because of the three toed fringed lizard ~ in the land just east of the runways.
I am sure that King Solomon did not have to worry about writing up an 7
Environmental impact Report when he sent 100,000 men to Lebanon to cut down the cedars and
bring them to Jerusalem to build the temple.
Bob Vice, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation says this
about the Endangered Species Act, "The desire to protect and preserve our environment
so that we may enjoy its beauty and resources is still a noble goal. However, the current
Endangered Species Act fails to achieve this worthy goal. As such, we must learn from past
failures and correct the law. We cannot afford to have species protection based on the
political whim of the day. We must ensure species are listed on the merit of sound,
scientific data. We need to preserve the Fifth Amendment by reaffirming the sanctity of
Using threats and force to condition human behavior only creates
resentment and animosity. Rather than to continue this course of action, we must create a
situation where people-not government- choose the best course of action for habitat
preservation. Common sense must be added to the law so that jobs and species are preserved
concurrently. When everyday citizens are allowed their part of species preservation, the
Endangered Species Act of 1973 will finally he successful".
Upon successfully accomplishing the foregoing hinges the success of
continuing the Conquest of the Land. With failure instead of success the farmer himself
will soon become an extinct species.
BY KERRI JEAN SCOTT NOVEMBER 19, 1994
THE KING MAY RULE OVER LAND AND SEA. THE LORD MAY LIVE RIGHT ROYALLY.
THE SOLDIER RIDE IN POMP AND PRIDE. THE SAILOR ROAM OVER OCEAN WIDE. BE THIS, OR THAT,
WHATEVER BEFALL, THE FARMER, HE MUST FEED THEM ALL.
THE WRITER THINKS, THE POET SINGS, THE CRAFTSMAN FASHIONS WONDROUS
THINGS, THE DOCTOR HEALS, THE LAWYER PLEADS, THE MINER FOLLOWS THE PRECIOUS LEADS, BE
THIS, OR THAT, WHATEVER BEFALL, THE FARMER, HE MUST FEED THEM ALL. THE MERCHANT HE MAY BUY
AND SELL, THE TEACHER DOES HIS DUTY WELL, MEN MAY TOIL THROUGH BUSY DAYS, OR MEN MAY
STROLL THROUGH PLEASANT WAYS, FROM KING TO BEGGAR, WHATEVER BEFALL, THE FARMER, HE MUST
FEED THEM ALL. THE FARMER'S TRADE IS ONE OF WORTH, HE'S PARTNERS WITH THE SKY AND EARTH,
HE'S PARTNERS WITH THE SUN AND RAIN, AND NO MAN LOSES FOR HIS GAIN, AND MEN MAY RISE AND
MEN MAY FALL, BUT THE FARMER, HE MUST FEED THEM ALL.
THE FARMER DARES HIS MIND TO SPEAK, HE HAS NO GIFT NOR PLACE TO SEEK, TO
NO MAN LIVING NEED HE BOW, THE FARMER DARES HIS MIND TO SPEAK, THE MAN THAT WALKS BEHIND
THE PLOW, IS HIS OWN MASTER, WHATEVER BEFALL, AND KING TO BEGGAR, HE MUST FEED THEM ALL.
GOD BLESS THE MAN WHO SOWS THE WHEAT, WHO FINDS US MILK, AND FRUIT, AND MEAT, MAY HIS
PURSE BE HEAVY, HIS HEART BE LIGHT, HIS FIELDS AND HOME BE FREE FROM BLIGHT, GOD BLESS THE
SEEDS HIS HANDS LET FALL, FOR THE FARMER, HE MUST FEED US ALL.