The Arcadian has a proud heritage. Many of us look forward to reading county news, current events, and other articles and opinions written by local folks. It’s only normal that we will not agree on everything written, but we appreciate the role of a local editor in balancing the content.
That’s why I am appalled that you have given Andy Mele the top third of an easy viewing page for his own opinionated and predictable comments (May 2 Arcadian), many of which are unfair to both Mosaic and our commissioners. Aren’t opinions from those other than staff writers normally relegated to the editorial page? Aren’t they labeled as “opinion?” Is Mr. Mele even from our county?
The references to the “gradual cultivation of each commissioner” and “Mosaic’s plan to recruit another couple of reliable commissioners” are totally ludicrous. Our county commissioners have been patient and diligent in dealing with a complex issue.
The people who live in our county realize we are in need of so many things. We’ve heard many negative comments about phosphate mining. Now we need to look at the positives and evaluate what benefits might come our way from dealing with Mosaic, a Fortune 500 company that will be regulated and accountable for its actions.
Giving dung beetles their due
In last week’s Arcadian (May 2), I was pleased to read that “organic fertilizers have impact” because the study suggests viable alternatives to chemical fertilizers made from strip-mining phosphate rock. On that same page, another article entitled “Food safety stronger with natural habitats,” focused on dung beetles, as did your article on page 24 (Poopy job: Researchers study dung beetles in DeSoto County).
The former report explained the increased food safety on farms that encompassed natural habitats and their residents such as dung beetles. The latter article noted “the decline of these economically important insects in central Florida” is probably because of “the conversion of wild lands to build houses and roads, extreme weather events associated with climate change, and the overuse of pesticides and insecticides in our food chain.”
Of course, dung beetles—along with the complex community of soil microbes and all other natural inhabitants of the land—are killed when their habitat is strip-mined for phosphate. This future “land use” was the subject of your (April 25) front-page article (DeSoto OK’s Mosaic deal, rezoning delayed till 2023). Perhaps in four years the growing reduction in the need for chemical fertilizers and the agricultural importance of dung beetles and all beneficial insects and soil microbes will destroy the economic viability of strip-mining phosphate deposits beneath Mosaic’s property. Their acreage is similar and adjacent to “environmentally sensitive working lands” protected by a conservation easement purchased by the state and is an integral part of our county’s proud agrarian heritage.