Page 67 article text (OCR)
Kf. PUBLIC MAIt Insecticides may cause hay crisis here County crop contaminated Rover, Republic Photo by Ed Ryan German Shepherd, And Abe Kalsbeek Guard Imported Hay At K & L Farms, Gilbert By PEGGY WYSONG .GILBERT—Thousands of tons of hay, the bulk of a multimilliort-dollar crop, are being stockpiled on Maricopa County farms by growers who say they are being poisoned out of business by insecticides. Hay growers estimate that 70 to 80 per cent of this year's crop is contaminated by DDT residues to the extent that it cannot be sold to dairy farmers, their chief customers. The dairymen, meantime, are paying high costs to import "clean" hay from Utah, California and Arizona fields along the Colorado River where DDT is not used by growers. They warn that consumers eventually must pay higher prices for milk and other dairy products. AND CLEAN haystacks here are being guarded by dogs and armed men because arson is suspected in at least two recent hay fires that could be related to the widespread financial crisis. The hapless hay grower is caught in a vise cranked tight by the plight of cotton farmers on one side and on the other by federal determination to control a danger that hasn't been measured or defined. For the cotton farmer, assaulted recently by a shrinking market and an invasion of cotton bollworm, DDT is the cheapest and most effective weapon against pests. But for oilier growers it has.become a plague. THE FAMOUS bug killer has been 'pushed into the center of national controversy over the danger of pesticides to humans #nd wildlife. In Arizona, attempts to outlaw its use were defeated in the last session of the legislature. So far, science has set no limits to human being's tolerance to DDT residues, and arguments rage over whether they are harmful in the amounts nor- In This Section: Stamps, C-2; Travel, C-4 and C-5; Farm, C-6 and G7; Boys and Girls, C-7; Crossword, C-7 THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC Sunday, Sept. 22, 1968 H (Section C) Page 1 One Man's Opinion Party committeemen to select chairmen Big DDT worry is concentration By BERNIE WYNN Republic Political Writer Precinct committeemen elected in the primary election will gather Friday to select county chairmen and name other party leaders to the Republican and Democratic central committees for the next two years. County GOP chairman, : Delos Ellsworth, 37-year-old Mesa real estate appraiser and majority whip in the House of Representatives, appears to have no organized opposition from the ultra- right, which has created so much chaos in the GOP the last four years. We are told that Phoenix attorney Bill Baker, long-time legal counsel to the State Republican Committee, will be strongly backed candidate for the vice, chairmanship. HE IS slated to replace Richards Carpenter, incumbent vice chairman and fearless leader of the late and unlamented far-rightists in the party hierarchy. However, Ellsworth may be tapped as administrative aide if Barry Goldwater is elected to the United States Senate. Iq this case, Baker undoubtedly would move up to the top party spot. The county GOP was fairly, successful In its drive to replace the precinct committeemen involved in the far-right attempt to take over the party in the Sept. 10 primary. It seems to be about 2 to I in favor of the party regulars, perhaps a shade over that after the various precinct races were tallied. District K and .District M were returned to party loyalists. THERE WERE two rather potable exceptions — District 8-L where the party regular, Len Forman, lost the district chairmanship by one vote. But the ultra-right strength was greatly reduced. The other was District 8-C where Sen. John Conlan, R-Maricopa, stacked the deck 'With precinct workers loyal to his personal a'mbitions and thus defeated the incumbent chairman, Mary Crisp, 43 to 40. In her stead, after a bloody and exhausting battle, Conlan placed his personal choice, Mercier Willard, a brand spanking new precinct committeeman elected by a crafty Conlan strategem. A letter, mailed out to key Republican voters in Scottsdale just before the primary, carried a Conlan-devised slate of precinct committeemen,- those who would help him in his plans to seize control. The letter implied the slate was approved by Goldwater, Gov. Williams and Rep. John J. Rhodes. This trio promptly denied they had any part to play in that election. SO NOW Conlan controls District 8-C and can use this as a power base for his burning ambition to defeat Sen. Paul Fannin in 1970 for the Republican Senate nomination. While the Republican meeting Friday promises to be fairly peaceful, not so with the fighting, feuding, fuming MarU copa County Democrats. Chairman John Carney, an affable guy who has kept the badly battered party together the last two years, is up for re-election. But it appears that everybody and his brother is preparing to jump into the race either as serious candidates or to provide comic relief. We really can't tell. According to the U.S. government, it's more dangerous for a .cow to consume microscopic amounts of DDT residue than for a man. to take in even larger doses on -lettuce or., blueberries. If the logic seems typically governmental, it's also the scientific basis for rules that are more restrictive for hay producers than for growers of cabbages, apricots and many other , direct-to-you crops. For the major fear of DDT rests in the fact that it lodges in animal fat and becomes more concentrated with each digestive process it goes through. Thus, if a dairy cow eats hay contaminated with only one-tenth of 1 part per million (ppm) of DDT residue, it will produce milk butterfat containing 1.25 ppm of DDT. The human consumer may concentrate it further in his body fat to 7 or 8 ppm. ' •••• ' THE PROCESS is called biological concentration, and it goes on one more step in the milk an infant receives at his mother's breast. And that is enough to cause federal Food & Drug Administration officials to restrict rigidly the allowable tolerances of DDT residues in dairy products, Current FDA regulations allow growers to market lettuce with DDT residues measuring up to 7 parts per million. The same tolerance is allowed <for meat fat from cattle, hogs and sheep. But a dairy cow's butterfat may contain only 1.25 ' For a comparative measure, that's equal to a little more than 1 cent in $10,000. MOST CROPS earmarked for higher tolerances ase those with husks, skins or i', shellsij or which are usually washed be- y " fore use. But the main distinction rests on the effects of biological concentration. , The gnats killed by the spray were eat^n by small fish which were eaten in turn by larger fish, and so on. Finally, the largest fish were eaten by water birds (grebes), and the birds died of lethal DDT concentrations. The classic case of the fear of this process is illustrated in the history of Clear Lake in California, a lake infested with gnats before it was sprayed with DDT. If the same thing could happen to humans, how much DDT residue would they have to consume over what period of time? Scientists don't know, and they "concede that it will take years of research to find out. IN THE meantime, FDA intends to control the use of DDT. Some observers believe that the use of DDT should be banned by law. One of these is Bob Ly'tle, general manager of United Dairymen of Arizona, an association whose members produce most of the state's dairy products. He compares the history of DDT with that of the drug thalidomide, which was blamed for deformities in many newborn babies before FDA took it off the market. It had been tested and proved harmless—on men. •' "It's true," said Lytle, "there were no. cases of pregnant men having trouble with thalidomide ; " mally consumed, with little conclusive evidence on either side. BUT THE U.S. Food and Drag Administration has taken the position that it will control DDT consumption until the insecticide is proved safe, a project that scientists say will take years of costly research. Early last year the FDA declared it would rigidly enforce regulations which set maximum amounts of DDT resudues allowable in farm products, especially in milk and other dairy rpoducts. THE FEDERAL resolve is aimed particularly at dairy products because: —An unusual characteristic of DDT residue is that it lodges in animal fat, including milk butterfat, and becomes more heavily concentrated with each stage of ingest ion it goes through. —The prospect of milk even slightly polluted evokes emotional reaction because of its predominance in the diets of children and elderly people. Tlie FDA yardstick for dairymen is a limitation of 1.25 parts per million (ppm) of DDT residue in the butterfat of milk. For comparison, a measure of 1.5 ppm is about equal to one ounce of sand in 3% tons of cement or 1 inch in 16 miles. BUT BECASUE of the increasing concentration of DDT in an animal's digestive processes, dairy cows can consume hay containing no more than one-tenth of 1 ppm. In other words, the concentration multiplies 12 times. To protect their products from excessive contamination and possible seizure by the FDA, dairymen test hay before they buy it for feed. In tests made since March by the United Dairymen of Arizona, whose members control most of the state's dairy production, 61 per cent of 791 Maricopa County samples proved to be over the allowed tolerance. NO DOLLAR estimate is available of how much contaminated hay may be piling up on Maricopa County farms, but sources in the industry said the problem is almost universal within the country. Stan Turley, Arizona House speaker and an agricultural loan executive with First National Bank of Arizona said tests from the growing season's first two cuttings showed that "most of Maricopa is contaminated." Later cuttings might show better results, he said. The magnitude of the crisis is reflected in figures of the Arizona Crop and Livestock Reporting Service. In 1967, 233,000 harvested acres of Arizona hay produced 1.1 million tons valued at $34.8 million. Nearly half the harvest was in Maricopa County. Arizona also was a $10.4 million market for pesticides and herbicides last year. More than 10.2 million pounds were dumped over the state, of which more than 3.6 million pounds landed in Maricopa County. Of the state total, 2.5 million pounds was DDT, most of it used by cotton growers in Maricopa and Final counties. AND MARICOPA is an area where grain, hay, cotton and dariy enterprises exist in a neighborly patchwork of mixed farming. A check by The Arizona Republic with seven of the largest local hay growers disclosed that all of them had contaminated stacks on hand, ranging from a few hundred tons to more than 1,000. Floyd Haymore, whose father, Arthur S. Haymore, was a pioneer hay farmer in Gilbert, has 160 acres planted in ton-grade alfalfa hay. He said he has $30,000 tied up in 800 tons of polluted hay on hand and another 400 tons to come in from cuttings. He has nowhere to sell it, he said. "WHAT ARE WE going to do?" he demanded. "This is our livelihood and our only income." When they can sell their hay, to beef Mayor's 'branch* popular By PAUL SCHATT The city manager's branch office opened in South Phoenix is gaining slow biit steady acceptance, city officials believe. Martin Vanacour, administrative assistant to City Manager Robert Coop, has been working out of the city's office service center at Central and Broadway since Sept. 3 hearing resident's problems and compiling data for a "person- alised" taansit study. "It's been a slow effor-t bjyst. we're gradually making people know we're here," Yaaa.epur 'told The Ajtsoaa Republic. "I thjnfc we're pMog Accept- , but it takes time to show the people we mean what we say and that we want to help." COOP SAID HE thinks the significance of the project is to give persons lacking transportation, ot who otherwise are reluctant to go to City Hall, a chance to "meet a representative of the manager's office who can be helpful to them." The city manager's braAch office is the first of its kta4 opsmed by phoenix. Of Vanafipw 1 ? ^alk-in'' visitors, Continued <& Page C-3 cattle growers, for instance the hay farmers are getting prices averaging. $22 a ton and sometimes as little as $14. The annual average price in recent years has been $30 a ton, according to Floyd Rolf of the Crop Research Division of the Arizona Department of Agriculture. At an average of $22 a ton, Rolf said, hay farmers are operating at a heavy loss. AT THE SAME time, local dairy farmers are paying up to $40 a ton for imported hay, according to Bob Lytle, general manager of United Dairymen. Ray M. Lorett, manager of the Arizona Farmers Production Credit Association, confirmed that the Farmers Credit Union is lending up to $40 a ton on hay purchases. Lorett and spokesmen for three banks said that the hay growers are in a critical financial squeeze. All of the lenders said hay farmers have gone into debt more heavily than ever before. ONE BANK officer who asked not to be identified said that his loans to hay growers were becoming delinquent at a 15 to 20 per cent greater rate than last year. Indications are that the situation for hay farmers and dairymen will get worse instead of better and that beef growers are in for trouble. The hay farmers' market among cattle feeders is slim and dwindling, mainly because most feedlots have shifted from hay to high-protein concentrates of feed grains as the major part of the beef ration. AND THE BEEF market may 'disappear completely if the worst fears of farmers and cattlemen are realized in a new set of FDA regulations planned for the 1969 growing season. CATTLE feeders now can use hay and grains that are too contaminated for dairy form use because the FDA limit on DDT residues in beef fat are much higher (7 ppm) than for butterfat. Confused by ambiguous FDA utterances to date, some farm authorities fear that federal officials plan to lower the beef fat tolerance to 1 ppm. Dr. George Ware of the University of Arizona's department of entomology said he believes that is the FDA intention. The UofA last April lopped DDT from its list of insecticides recommended for farm use, Ware said, "after reading the handwriting on the wall." i Wade Lacey, director of the Arizona Cattle Feeders Association, said his optimistic reading of the FDA's intention is that the beef fat tolerance won't be set as low as 1 ppm. But he's asked, (or clarification. If the limit is se tthat low, said Lacey. "it would kill the cattle feeding industry here." LOCALLY GROWN feed grains would then join hay in being too contaminated for use. And, said a Valley National Bank loan officer, such a ruling by FDA "would mean the extinction of our hay industry." But according to some observers the hay industry may be near that point already. Some growers contacted by The Republic talked of plowing their fields under after this season. There is no sure relief in sight from the DDT problem, and it is not clear whether any action can be taken to provide it. DDT RESIDUES apparently can remain in the soil for years — no one seems to know for how long or under what conditions — only to be stirred up in the hay cuttings. And, in spite of attempts by hay farmers and dairymen to outlaw DDT, its use continues, although reportedly in less quantity and under stiffer controls. The United Dairymen sought passage of a state law in the last legislative session that would have banned DDT. Turley said the lawmakers were not willing to go so far, fearing to set a dangerous precedent in proscribing use of an insecticide by name. INSTEAD, TURLEY said, the lawmakers gave authority to a new state pesticide control board which he said has the power to police DDT use to tbfi point of eliminating it. Ernest JDipple Surveys Remains Of $25,000 Worth Of Clean Hay Burned By Arsonists Board regulations now prohibit spraying within a mile of a dairy mUk- ing barn and within one-half mile of forage crops. But hay grosvers assert that gusting winds can carry DDT mists up to 15 miles. Republic sources also sa$ that the board has made it more difficult to obtain or misuse a DDT license." E. S. McSweeney, executive vice president of the 1,800-member Arizona Gotten Growers Association, said cotton fann- ers are concerned about the • problem and are using 90 per cent less DDT this year. Even so, based on the 1967 use, 250,000 pounds of DDT will be spread over fields in Maricopa and Pinal counties. FACED WITH the prospect of contuv ued high prices for imported feed, dairy farmers like Bill Lambeth of Gilbert's K and L Farms predict dairy foods must go up in price. "While milk prices are set now," he said, "in the long run they will have to go up or we o*airy farmers will be out gf business."