It was with great displeasure that I read your front page article in the Sept. 19 issue about rotational grazing on the Fadorsen farm. Apparently, much forest land was cleared to put this grazing system in place, and the article seemed to glorify this practice as if it were a wasteland of some kind beforehand.
Management of existing forests on farmland is something that is practiced by many farmers and can serve as a good diversification and source of supplemental income.
In Indiana, the forest products industry is the fifth largest industry in the state, and the trees that fuel this industry come from a land base that is 85 percent privately owned – mostly by farmers. The only way to ensure a continued supply of timber is to sustainably manage existing forest land and not clear it off. There is too much of that already going on with urban sprawl and development pressures.
To assume that trees and woodland are some sort of enemy to be destroyed and converted into pasture is pretty out-of-touch with reality. Many farmers I know make more money from their woods than they do from their more traditional agricultural crops.
I have nothing against rotational grazing of cattle, but I do have a serious problem with conversion of woodland for that purpose. I find it ironic that Mr. Fadorsen is involved with the Soil and Water Conservation District, when one of the ways to conserve soil and clean water is to conserve woodland and plant trees in erodible areas.
The article even states that this land consists of rolling hills and steep valleys. Certainly this land would have been better conserved with a forest cover.
Although I do not wish to harbor any animosity toward anyone, the style in which this article was written to portray forested land as some sort of worthless wasteland seriously offends me as a professional forester who grew up on a dairy farm. We do not live on the 1820s frontier anymore, and the time for negative attitudes toward wooded land is long past. Please update your writing style to accurately reflect the inherent value of natural resources that can be as much a part of the agricultural land base as more traditional crops have been.