Voice: Stop whining about field burning

June 13, 2002

How long does it take to burn a field? Half a day? How long does it take for the smoke to dissipate? Another half a day? From how many miles away can the smoke and fire be seen in order to avoid the area? How long is it until the blackened field, now rid of critters and pests and now ready to benefit from the ash that leaves natural nutrients in the ground, begins to yield itself to soft new greenery?

Tractor drivers — as important to our world today as the highest-paid scientist — bring the beauty of symmetry to the field, arranging lovely straight rows for the water and the seeds. The fields are soon again lush with the green of lettuce, the gray and purple of cabbage, the filmy carrot tops and the gorgeous yellow of cannola.

Is there anything that smells better than a field of purple alfalfa? Is there anything to compare with the sight of a field filled with workers harvesting the labor of the farmer, the tractor driver, the provider of the seeds and a faithful Heavenly Father who provides the clear, clean, cool water?


In the 1940s and 50s, before we taught the world how to make the deserts bloom, Imperial Valley fed the world. We still do our share thanks to the intelligence, money and challenge of the eternal optimists — the farmers who every season face a good or a bad year. Imperial Valley feeds the world on the hours and hours in terrible summer heat, eating the dirt when the wind blows off the tractor drivers preparing the land for sowing. Imperial Valley feeds the world on the backs of the field workers who harvest the crops.

Which is more important — to feed the world or to accommodate the few who are negatively impacted by the process?

This is first and foremost a farming community. Those few who are not compatible with the area should seriously decide to move away or at least avoid the burning fields.

When you go to the grocery store and you see the array of beautiful, clean, nutritious and delicious fruits and vegetables, remember, a field or two probably had to be burned. Be thankful for the burning field and the good food — and stop your whining!


El Centro

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