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Old John Mitchell Had A Farm...

Old John Mitchell Had A Farm... image Old John Mitchell Had A Farm... image
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ELKHORN, Wis. (LNS)- In these busy weeks, when farmers in Walworth County need every minute af the long summer days to tend their f ields, many are stealing hours to seek out and destroy large patches of marijuana plants that have been growing wild on their land. "I never knew I had the stuff, " said LaVerne Baumeister, the sturdy grey-halred owner of a 203 acre farm near Elkhorn, the county seat. Mr. Baumeister was spraying 2, 4-D, a potent herbicide, on a sloping pasture, over-grown with f oot-high plants. "The hemp doesn't get in my way, " he said. "But I don't mind helping the.government get rid of it. " Mr. Baumeister and farmers in ten other western counties are working under a new federal program, funded by the bureau of Narcotics and (continued on page 12) continued from page n Dangerous Drugs, which is part of the Justice Department. The program, In its experim3ntal stages, is operated by the Dept. oí Agriculture; it aims to determine whether a subsidy of $5 to $20 an acre will encourage farmers to help wipe out the weed. "The farmers here are cooperating very well, " says Russell M. Saari, Walworth Co. executive director for the Agriculture Dept. "And you can't say they are doing it for the money. They get only 90% of what it costs them for herbicide, renting the spraying equipment, and labor. " Environmentalists are already at work, raising questions about the effects of the program on bird life. One Nebraska study showed that hemp seed was a prefered food of quails, doves, pheasants, and many song birds. And because 2, 4-D also acts on other plants, it is feared that nesting needed by such birds will also be wiped out. 2, 4-D is a toxic Chemical which produces nausea and possibly does other internal damage when smoked. LOOKOUT !