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Jill Richardson wrote a diary protesting a Republican plan to exempt Ag interests from global warming regulations. Now, the plan, pushed by Senator Mike Johanns, sounds well and good on the surface. After all, why should we force small farmers to deal with all sorts of unnecessary rules and regulations when they are the ones who grow the food that feeds the world? But the problem with that is that it would also exempt large corporate interests as well, like CAFO's. The idea that we should not overregulate the small farmer is a valid concern. But the problem with many of these debates is that we split hairs over what constitutes a small farm versus what constitutes a large farm, and then nothing ever gets done.

I propose that we exempt small and medium sized farming operations from the proposed global warming regulations that are about to be drawn up. One of the problems with defining that it that it varies from state to state. However, Obama has defined the cutoff point between middle and upper class as $250,000 or more. Therefore, I propose that any farming operation that makes less than $250,000 per year after expenses and taxes be exempt from these regulations. The purpose of crafting environmental regulations should not be a one-size fits all approach -- what is appropriate for a small farmer might not be appropriate for a large operation. The purpose should be to craft something that everyone can benefit from.

There is another possibility -- use percentiles to define small, medium, and large. But the problem with that is that these percentiles vary from state to state. Some states have much larger average farming operations than others. So, that would create a system that is needlessly complex. Therefore, the cutoff point should be something that is simple to understand.

And we have to remember that small farmers and progressives are on the same side when it comes to dealing with large corporate interests. Monsanto has a whole history of suing small farmers for allegedly reseeding Monsanto beans. CAFO's have run small hog producers out of business because the cost of feeding hogs alone in a small operation is greater than the price of the hogs. And nobody wants to live anywhere near a CAFO.

Secondly of all, the number of people involved in farming has shrunk for a long period of time. The long-term trend of consolidation is turning our food supply into a high risk proposition. For instance, less diversity means that if there is a disease that happens to destroy a certain variety of corn, then that will inflict serious damage to our food supply. For example, there is a weed that turns out to be resistant to Monsanto's Roundup Ready herbicide, meaning that will put our food supply at considerable risk. But with a high level of diversity in farming, that does not happen -- the more varieties of corn there are, the less likely that the whole corn crop falls victim to some weed or pest that conventional methods can't deal with.

This means that we should be in the business of encouraging more people to get into agriculture and creating more incentives for them to get started as opposed to the massive corporate welfare subsidies that have too frequently been a part of farm policy. Our food supply would be much safer with 1 million new small farmers in agriculture than it would be if just 10 corporations controlled all the food production.

But at the same time, it is totally appropriate to regulate mega-sized operations like Monsanto or CAFO's. There is an argument that if we do so, they will just move out of the country and set up shop somewhere else. But this is not about us. The problem of global warming is one that is global, not something that we can solve through America First politics. We have to make a value judgment -- is it more important to take concrete steps towards saving the world from the threat of global warming? Or is it more important to avoid inconveniencing Monsanto or Tyson Foods or CAFO's?

If they just move their operations elsewhere and send the food back to us, then we should subsidize our small farmers so that they can compete with Monsanto et al pricewise. But the fear that if we tighten up environmental regulations that companies will simply move out is not a valid argument. First of all, it is an appeal to fear; therefore, it is inherently negative and should be rejected. Secondly of all, we are one of the least environmentally friendly countries in the world, seeing that we have only 3% of the world's population yet emit a quarter of the world's greenhouse gasses; therefore, that scenario is not likely to happen. Thirdly of all, we have to lose the notion that bigger is somehow better, given the "too big to fail" meme that has taken hold of Washington and corporate boardrooms. If Monsanto or some other operation is so big that it would be the end of the world if they moved out, then they need to be broken up like AT&T was by Ronald Reagan's Justice Department.  

Some people may argue at this point that this is not the time to be doing that given our ongoing economic crisis. It can be argued further that the IMF has found that this crisis in the financial sectors will not be going away any time soon and that we should be protecting jobs, not driving them away. But the problem with that argument is that global warming is not going away just because of an economic crisis. The jobs we create from green energy and light rail will far outweigh any jobs that we lose from companies relocating abroad because of our environmental regulations.

This argument is what is known as a false choice -- the notion that we somehow have to choose between the economy and the environment. But we don't have to choose between them at all. For instance, the Apollo Alliance and Energize America are two programs which combine the creation of jobs and respect for the environment. This is something that has been debunked for a long time.

Originally posted to Stop the Police State! on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:07 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  One idea that will work... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eternal Hope, luckylizard

      ...across much of the south and lower midwest per smaller outfits is to make good use of the farm cooperative systems already in place for seed, fertilizers and expensive equipment. Plus it can cut into carbon emissions significantly on the smaller farm scale.

      Allow cooperatives to produce and stockpile biofuels on-site for the farmers to use. Ethanol for gasoline equipment, biodiesel for the combines and such. Feedstocks can be supplied by the farmers growing x amount per season for that purpose and sharing in cost reductions on fuel by coop-ing the ability to produce.

      It's a thought. Ethanol and biodiesel work just fine, though sometimes a small engine re-fit is required on the equipment. Mr. Diesel invented his engine to run on peanut oil, after all. It doesn't really need petroleum, it just needs an ample pre-heater.

    •  Nature doesn't care where the CO2 came from... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eternal Hope

      ...so this approach is misguided.  

      What's needed instead is to FUND compliance:  government money to pay for whatever physical upgrades & improvements are needed, and government workers to help small farmers with whatever paperwork goes along with it (as in, talk them through it and fill it out for them, live & in-person).  

      Like it or not, we are going to have to torque down our carbon footprint to a fraction of what it is today or we're headed for extinction.  

      No one is exempt, whether we know it or not, and whether we like it or not.  

      The only thing we can do is provide direct government financial support to those who can't afford the costs themselves.  

      BTW, for the money we just threw down the financial rat hole, we could have replaced every single coal-fired power plant in the US with climate-clean energy (any combination of solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal, etc.), and then done the same for a decent chunk of China and India.  

      The money to solve the climate crisis is there, we just have to find the political will to put it to that use rather than flushing it down various special-interest toilets.  

    •  No. No recs, no tips, for this misguided idea. (0+ / 0-)

      What's important here is the lack of recognition that books can be fiddled (and in the current national economic apocalypse, must have already been cooked with the aplomb and lack of conscience exemplified in any Iron Chef contest you can point out).

      Define a farm operation that should be exempt? No. Define a farm operation where the impact of the regulations can be overcome by better farming practices? In every instance.

      Step one: End CAFO in all incarnations. Any outfit feeding more than 20 head per acre is a source of greenhouse gas, whether they're rabbits, ducks, chickens, sheep, pigs or cattle.

      Step two: If the majority of the work done on a farm is not done by the owner or the owner's immediate family -- siblings, children, spouse -- it should not be an exempt operation.

      Step three: educate, encourage and assist use of sound farming methods (crop rotation, low- or no-till cultivation, organic management instead of petrochemical and pesticide promulgation).

      Step four: change the Food Stamp program back to a program that puts real food in the hands of the nation's underprivileged instead of making them just another e-transaction fee-producer. Yes. Go back to the model LBJ used. Pay farmers for surplus production of commodities; pay people to (cleanly and safely!!) process those crops into edible food (powdered eggs, powdered and canned milk, government butter and cheese, raisins, canned chicken, turkey, dry peas and beans, corn oil and corn syrup, dry fruit such as apples, peaches, cherries and cranberries, and canned vegetables) for distribution AS FOOD, directly.

      Step five: collect and recycle animal waste for the production of fertilizer and biofuels.

      Step six: revitalize the grange and/or co-ops.

      These last two steps will go a long way, too, toward the death of corporations currently holding the US food supply by the throat and their GMO and drug-enhanced "advances".

      John Edwards:"One America does the work, another America reaps the rewards. One America pays the taxes, another America gets the tax breaks."

      by BlackSheep1 on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 01:42:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thus the watering down begins. (12+ / 0-)

    One would think that we would not want to be the first to offer ways to water down climate legislation.  What will the next group that needs help be . . . and the next . . . and the next . . .

    As an example, it was the farm lobby's interest in keeping CAFE standards off of their trucks that resulted in the loophole that made SUVs popular. The SUVs started fairing very well in crash rating tests vs. all other vehicles (which were getting lighter) and created a situation where SUVs became dominant.  Not the intended impact of CAFE at all!

    A better way to handle this is to mitigate the damage to small farmers by redistributing the proceeds from emissions permits auctions to the underpriviledged.

    Further, while I'm no ag expert, I do a bit of gardening, and it's my understanding that small-scale organic gardening shouldn't need that much energy input.  Most energy inputs in farming are in chemical production for fertilizer and pesticides, and fuel for the vehicles.  And the less the farmers use of chemical processes, the less they'd be impacted by climate regulations, which is the point: to incent them to change to less harmful technologies.

    "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

    by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:19:48 AM PDT

  •  How many freaking times do I have to explain (21+ / 0-)

    that a CAFO is NOT what so many people around here seem to think it is!

    I have a 50 sheep dairy.  They are on pasture year round.  The farm is run just by myself and my husband.  We are your typical 'small farmer' that your diary addresses.

    AND we are a CAFO.

    Why?  Well, because CAFO regulations require any farm that has more than a handful of livestock that is confined for for than 40 days of the year to get a CAFO license.

    Confining an animal only for a few minutes out of a day means that they have been confined for a full day.

    Which means anyone who dairies - even on a small scale - has to get a CAFO permit.

    And although it's a pain in the ass, it is ultimately a good thing because the regulations help keep our waters clean.  

    •  Thank you. It's a real pleasure to read (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel, Rick Winrod

      someone whose ox is being gored realize the ultimate value of the needed changes.

      Politics is who gets what, when, and how. Harold Lasswell

      by DaNang65 on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:34:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are these state rules? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rick Winrod, MKSinSA

      Or federal?

      •  They're federal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joy Busey

        but adopted, and may even be expanded on by each state's Dept of Ag.

        Here in Oregon, the CAFO is just the federal standard.

        Trust me, no one was more shocked than I when I first found out about the regs, just because of the knee-jerk reaction to what we think CAFOs are.

        Do I think it a tad excessive?  Yes, seeing as I have to collect all the lovely Oregon rainwater for later disposal that only contains a minute anount of sheep pee - while the guy next door with 200 sheep doesn't have to do anything.  But in the end I have to say the purpose of the CAFO regs are for a good cause, so I ultimately don't mind.

        So I differentiate myself from the big boys now by calling them 'feedlot operations'.

        •  Obtaining organic certification... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catesby

          ...is a regular circus act of fancy hoop-jumping too. But possibly worth it if you really want the premium, particularly on value-added products (cheese, honey, processed goods), for which you also have to jump FDA hoops. I just divvy out the cost to the goods, it doesn't raise them that much. Of course, my market is mostly high end restaurants and lodging establishments for rich tourists, who will pay a lot and simply raise their dinner prices.

          Sometimes hoop-jumping is good, sometimes it's definitely not worth it. Only the farmer can do that math.

          •  Yes, I have considered going organic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joy Busey

            because my entire operation is organic, and the previous owners were organic.  Just not certified.

            But right now after having gone through the CAFO hoop, now I am going through the dairy certification hoop.

            So the organic hoop will have to wait until I can catch my breath!

            •  It was such a long, hard fight... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marina

              ...to get the standards while Monsanto was right in the middle of it with ADM and some of the large processors attempting to get their operations certified organic too, complete with GMOs, chemical herbicides/pesticides (but organic-like fertilizers) and intensive livestock operations. Guess they wanted the label for lines of products without having to actually BE organic.

              Now, many specialty truck crops you might produce simply don't come in GMO varieties. So it's not an issue. But for other things - potatoes, corn, tomatoes, certain beans, etc. - you really do need to be careful. I even stay away from hybrids when I can, so I can save seed as well as brag about heirlooms. To each his/her own on that score, so long as it's not GMO.

              Trick is to keep GMOs out of your space. It can't be in the compost (careful there, much of what you toss from the kitchen may be GMO if you bought it off the shelf) or in the fields, and corn pollen can travel for miles. Luckily, we've good organization and have nicely informed our conventionally farming neighbors that if their pollen costs us our certification, we'll sue. They still farm conventionally, but won't buy GMO varieties for that reason (and no doubt others, particular to Monsanto).

              As I said, sometimes worth it, sometimes not. Beware of grain supplements and some high-protein hay. GMOs show up there too. Also, consider "Naturally Grown" certification. It covers where Organic gets too complex (thanks, Monsanto) and means often the same or even better. It's not too full of hoops, inspections are way less intrusive.

    •  Always good to hear from someone ... (4+ / 0-)

      ...who is actually affected AND agrees with the regs despite the pain involved.

      "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:53:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Catesby hasn't agreed to the regs, comment (0+ / 0-)

        refers to water pollution.

        Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

        by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:05:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, CAFO is designed to prevent (5+ / 0-)

          pollution of mainly our waterways.  The difference from pastured animals who are never confined is, according to my Ag guy, that the manure gets spread out over a much wider area on pasture.  Which he kind of knows is a bit silly, because he's seen how small some people's fields are.  But they have to draw the line somewhere.  It's the concentration of manures that CAFO is designed to manage.  

          It requires you not only to collect all rainwater, manure and soiled bedding where the animals congregate, and dispose of it in a safe manner on you property or by sale.  But it also helps the farmer as the Dept of Ag gives you all kinds of info on the best practices for the disposal of the waste to maximise the fertilization potential for your fields.  And it's all natural, so I'm down with that.

          You are limited in where you can spread it - for example, well away from water-courses - even seasonal ones, and when you can spread it - like you obviously can't spread it when the ground is soggy.  And you obviously are limited to how much you can spread in a given area - obviously you have to spread it out.  So it's a lot of math and paperwork.

          So regulations like CAFO designed to prevent pollution are a good thing in my book.  But it was very expensive to implement, so that must keep a lot of people out of the dairying business.  Mind you, the other Dept of Ag regulations covering dairies aren't cheap either.  But they're all there for safety.

          •  Thank you for replying. I have some (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marina, Catesby, CcVenussPromise

            background in this working with some Catskill Watershed farmers in NYS. It might be instructive to use what was learned politically there in this situation. Farmers were given incentives to not pollute NYC's water, it wasn't a negative relationship as much as a quid pro quo. As one farmer so eloquently put it "You buy our products, we won't shit in your water." I potentially see a similar situation here.

            Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

            by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:30:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Have you followed up with EPA fines (0+ / 0-)

            on CAFO dairies in the U.S? In your state? The EPA doesn't always get to all of them.

            Have you toured a CAFO dairy in the past year?  Or more than one?

            The disposal of carcasses is a problem. And the death rate is high.

    •  What do you think of the proposal? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catesby

      Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

      by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:03:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I haven't quite made up my mind yet (0+ / 0-)

        on the one hand, curbing pollutants is always a good thing, on the other hand I think of my neighbors who run 50 head of cattle to supplement their income and who are barely getting by as it is.

        If we put requirements on the truly small farmer, it will run them out of business, and all we will be left with are the agri-giants.  That's not what we want.

        But I also hear what people are saying about loopholes and how the big businesses would use those loopholes to break into smaller companies.

        I think you could have a workable solution if you restricted it to farms that have x amount of emissions per acre, weighted by the acre with the most emissions (to prevent them just buying up waste land to dilute their average).

    •  I'm curious. (0+ / 0-)
      I went and looked up the CAFO regs, and it looks like it exempts small holders like yourself unless they are specifically designated a CAFO on a case-by-case basis.  Is that just the technicality, and in reality they designate everybody, or was there something different about your operation that made it a CAFO?

      (I ask because I'm in the process of fencing pasture for animals myself.)

      •  No the kicker is (0+ / 0-)

        the confinement period.  If you confine animals for more than a certain number of days, you have to get a license.

        I could run thousands (if I remember correctly) of sheep on my same land without a CAFO if I wasn't dairying, and thus confining them for 10 minutes a day.

        •  Yeesh. (0+ / 0-)
          Do you know if that also applies to "confining" animals at night, to protect them from predators?  Because that's what I do right now with my turkeys, and I expect I will do the same with goats and (maybe) pigs.
  •  Good idea, and tobacco farmers too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    andydoubtless, Rick Winrod

    of any size, they've been picked on enough of late.

  •  Exempt nobody (9+ / 0-)

    Global warming legislation shouldn't be the medium through which we help small farmers.  Do it through taxes, do it through subsidies, or whatnot -- I don't care.  But we have to get our emissions under control, and that means involvement from everybody.

  •  i can get behind this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eternal Hope, andydoubtless

    (0.12, -3.33) ONE America! Yes! We really are ONE America!

    by terrypinder on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:36:40 AM PDT

  •  The open-window test (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ManhattanMan, Rei

    Let's consider the (bad) idea that farmers' and ranchers' pickup trucks and farm vehicles be exempt from fuel or carbon taxes.  You know there will be poltical pressure for this, bad idea or not.

    If this became inevitable, I'd suggest at least having a criterion:  the truck or farm vehicle NOT have air-conditioning.  I'm thinking if there's a left elbow hanging out over the door through an open window on a hot day, it's a farm truck.  If not, tax its ass.

  •  Nobody gets exempted! (4+ / 0-)

    Honestly, I think nobody gets exempted, no matter what.  We can try to streamline the process, and offer simple advice for small farmers to help them figure out the paperwork, but nobody gets exempted from the rules.

    As soon as anyone gets exempted, people have a loophole to game the system.  Suddenly a massive agri-business firm restructures legally to be a half-million farms with only 10 acres each, each one paying a management company to assist in the business. You can bet your ass that lawyers are already drawing up the paperwork, just in case they need to file it.

    If we don't deal with global warming effectively, then billions are going to starve and die. If small farms can't be productive without screwing the environment, the they've got to go.  If large farms can't be productive without screwing the environment, then they've got to go too.  

    If humanity itself can't figure out a way to survive without screwing the environment, then the Earth itself is going to kick us off, without mercy or remorse.

    •  Well, but use your common sense: (0+ / 0-)

      Who would be more likely to screw the environment, a smaller farmer or a bigger farmer?

      •  Both. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jxg, Ashaman, MKSinSA, trumpeter

        If you really mean to ask "likely" as opposed to "impact more" then the answer is both.  Both are incentivized to use the same fuels and chemicals.  And if you exempt smaller producers then your answer becomes "smaller farmer" more likely to screw the environment, because that's what you incentivized.

        "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

        by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:49:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Predictor, MKSinSA

          Are there already incentives to use these chemicals already in the books?

          •  Not that I know of, I'm no ag guy, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ashaman, MKSinSA

            but I do know that the production of chemicals in general and fertilizer in particular is energy intensive, and therefore will get more expensive as C02 regulation increases the price of fuels.

            That's why I'm for short-term subsidies to the farmers, but not an exemption.  They NEED to see the prices rising and start planning to react when the subsidies end.

            "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

            by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:58:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Both is the correct answer (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jxg, Maimonides

          Small farms use the same tractors that large farms use, they just use fewer of them per farm. In fact, that makes the small farm less efficient, since each one has their own personal tractor, and there are going to be more individual small farms.

          And both farmers are going to try to use the same fertilizers, the same pesticides, etc.

          So the ones that screw the environment more are going to be the ones that are financially rewarded more for doing so.

    •  speaking of loopholes and gaming the system... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kickemout, MKSinSA

      this is a bit OT, but worth considering.  Farmers, large and small, were and are exempt from EPA regulations pertaining to wetlands destruction.  A farmer can destroy wetlands on his property that is used for agriculture.
      So developers would buy up property that they want to eventually turn into urban sprawl, farm it for a few years and do away with any pesky wetlands in the process, then proceed to build.

  •  Thinking like a corporate shill for a moment (5+ / 0-)

    If I were an agri-business CEO in charge of large farm holdings subject to regulation because they exceeded your $250K limit I would restructure to dodge - because you have devised a door ...

    I would break down the operation into smaller pieces, style them as franchises - independent operations - and make darned sure their net profit pa after debt, taxes and consumable expenses was below your $250K cut-off.

    So, even aside from the debatable merits of allowing such a ceiling to profit before imposing regulations, it seems an easy matter to conceive an escape route for those large enterprises you still wish to regulate.

    •  So, then: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy Busey, andydoubtless, Predictor

      If you own 10 franchises worth $100,000 each, then you should still be regulated.

      •  But Eternal, now you're playing the Eternal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ashaman

        Re-Regulation game.  This is pretty standard regulatory analysis: don't play the game such that you build in loopholes that you keep fixing.

        The simplest and most elegant solutions are the best ones.

        "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

        by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:45:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Predictor

          It doesn't matter how you do it, there will always be loopholes.

          •  That's simply not true. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ashaman

            Like I said, keep it simple.  That's the beauty of the cap and trade system: no loopholes, pure elegance.

            "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

            by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:51:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Predictor

              I could set up my own offset company, manage it so that my footprints are not on it, and then give money to it. Cap and trade has the potential to have loopholes big enough to drive a truck through. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have it, but it means that these are simply things we have to work around.

            •  Cap and trade will keep big ag polluting, no (0+ / 0-)

              great environmental benefit here. Economies of scale will help them recapture lost profit more easily than for a small producer.

              Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

              by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:02:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not sure how you figure ANY of that. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MKSinSA

                The Amish do just fine on 0% emissions farming with a much lower cost than anyone else.

                And I just plain don't see how you see it resulting in "no great environmental benefit"

                "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

                by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:06:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Am I missing something? We are discussing (0+ / 0-)

                  methane emissions by animals. Large operations will pay to continue emitting methane.

                  Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

                  by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:11:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And your point is? (0+ / 0-)

                    Do you not understand the CAP part to cap and trade?

                    "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

                    by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:13:45 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  There hasn't been a cap proposed, just a charge (0+ / 0-)

                      for emmitting. If a cap is is proposed, undoubtedly larger corporations will do a cost benefit analysis either pay the freight or move operations to Mexico or South America. They are doing it already.

                      Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

                      by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:25:05 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Cap and trade is the LYNCH-PIN of Obama's climate (0+ / 0-)

                        strategy.  and your talk of large corporations reacting by shipping farther just demonstrates you really don't get this.

                        Check my recent diary on how cap and trade works, seriously.

                        "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

                        by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:27:27 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I will before I sink my foot in further. (0+ / 0-)

                          Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

                          by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:31:52 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Thank you. nt (0+ / 0-)

                            "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

                            by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:36:19 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ok, I'm back. Nice diary, sorry i missed it. So, (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Maimonides, CcVenussPromise

                            how are imports, lets say from China or other foot dragging nations treated? How will we value their emissions? By product line, by nation, by company?

                            Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

                            by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:39:25 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ok, now we're talking! (0+ / 0-)

                            Basically you've hit on the biggest problem we have right now with climate mitigation in general: large portions of the world don't plan to join in.

                            So the question becomes (and you're asking) is how to mitigate the trade imbalance.  If you subsidize at home you neuter your emissions reductions.  So you have to put an environmental tariff on goods produced by non-compliant countries, but that won't be very popular and can result in trade wars.  So what then? . . . give them the tech.

                            WHAT?

                            Give them the new tech as you make it.  Seriously, it's the best option.

                            "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

                            by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:52:03 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thanks for replying, I was out. Commodities such (0+ / 0-)

                            as beef are really on the low end of tech fix and I'm afraid trade wars is precisely what all gov'ts are trying to avoid. So again, why not relocate your cattle farms elsewhere and ship it back here?

                            Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

                            by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 02:12:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

      •  No, because with a clever lawyer (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ashaman, Maimonides, CcVenussPromise

        each franchise is owned by its own corporation.  I'm sorry, and I appreciate your looking out for small farmers, but this is a dumb idea.

        Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays at 5 PM PDT

        by indigoblueskies on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:47:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Only if you explicitly roll pools in to the law (0+ / 0-)

        But, as originally writ above - easy loophole.

        Besides - if my corporate HQ simply pushes paper I'm green, no matter what, and under your ceiling. It is the individual Frachisees who have to avoid breaking the profit barrier, not the CEOs or CPAs. It isn't as if I am defining something here which is not already recognized in commerce.

        Think McDonalds, or Best Western Hotels. "This site is an individually owned and operated franchise of ... Chicken Corp."

        I sell them the feed, the livestock (if appropriate) the seed etc. They run the risks, (which I carefully ensure they minimize, teaching them how to with mandatory annual information disseminating seminars at $1,000 a pop, per day, location undecided, but Bass Fishing or Golfing are likely locales) - I reap the profits, all ways around.

    •  These sorts of strategies are easily regulated, (0+ / 0-)

      and really there's nothing new about them. It's easy to aggregate small holdings to make sure no one is trying to slip beneath the threshold, and then impose high fines for the attempt.

      Which basically is what EH says below.

      "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

      by andydoubtless on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:45:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The key issue is what burdens would be imposed. (6+ / 0-)

    Eternal Hope approaches this issue with a concern that usually gets sidestepped when we discuss agriculture here, which is how to maintain the incentives for small operators to enter farming, make it their life's work, and thus reverse the combination of our agricultural sector into ever fewer, ever larger, producers.

    But the question I have that determines whether or not I support the thesis is what burdens we are talking about and whether they would truly be excessive for small operators. It might also be possible to impose these regulations across the board and then have a rebate or an additional subsidy that would compensate smaller operators and perhaps even provide a net advantage for those small farms with fewer carbon emissions relative to what they produce.

    In any case, the key is to be creative, and the diary is I think a good conversation opener.

    "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

    by andydoubtless on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:43:22 AM PDT

    •  Well, in order to be effective, they should (0+ / 0-)

      incent behavioural change, but at the same time one must mitigate damage to the smallest producers who do not have the capital to adapt quickly.  That's why I emphasize above the plans to turn around the revenues from the sale of C02 permits and redistribute those to the most needy.

      But you can't make that forever or you'll have a large part of the population never incented to adapt and cut their emissions./

      "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

      by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:47:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please explain how much further grass fed beef (0+ / 0-)

        or pastured poultry operations can mitigate emmissions, except by going out of business?

        Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

        by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:49:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fascinating you should ask that. (0+ / 0-)

          The easiest is to put renewable generators on their property.  Another is to quit producing beef, which is a terrible industry from the climate perspective.

          This is all very interesting to me because I was previously an energy industry climate skeptic, and the arguments presented here are really no different than the "corporatist" arguments I was paid for.  Suddenly liberals are aware that mitigating climate change is gonna take adaptation!  

          Funny we should be so startled by something everyone has known for a decade.

          "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

          by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:54:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, that would be a good idea. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Maimonides, Predictor
          •  And there you have it, get rid of beef. (0+ / 0-)

            I know this is a minority position. No, taxing ruminant animals (dairy cows do it too) has not been around for decades, it's fairly recent and of all the mitigation efforts available, this should be down the page, not on top.

            Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

            by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:20:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You aren't reading closely. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              unfounded

              And seem to have a very cow-centric view of the universe.  

              The UN climate body has been tracking methane production for years; cows have been on the target list for long enough that people were looking at cow fart mitigation techniques (I like capturing them for fuel purposes!) since the 90s.

              More things under heaven and earth . . .

              "When your enemies are throwing Teabagging Protests, mock them." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

              by Maimonides on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:25:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Years, not decades. Anyway, fart mitigation (0+ / 0-)

                requires continual confinement and/or maybe a diet switch. If all that's required to get farmers off the hook here is to give the cows fish oil with their feed, all well and good. If we have to encourage continual confinement, I'll have to be convinced this is unavoidable.

                Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

                by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:43:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Add fish oil (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          the fan man

          Actually, there is already research being done on how to reduce the amount of methane in cow farts.  Apparently, small amounts of fish oil, added to the cow diet, helps.

          Livescience.com

          Specifically, including 2 percent fish oil in the diet of cattle reduces flatulence, apparently due to the omega 3 fatty acids in the oil. The study was a small one, however. The technique cut methane output of three cows by 21 percent, said Lorraine Lillis of the University College Dublin.

          •  So now they want to feed fish to cows (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marina

            who are already eating things other than the grass they should be eating.

          •  Not from farting (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            the fan man

            it's belching that that is the main problem when it comes to methane. Many science articles that report on studies like this get that part wrong... a lot.

            From the EPA site:

            Livestock enteric fermentation. Among domesticated livestock, ruminant animals (cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels) produce significant amounts of methane as part of their normal digestive processes. In the rumen, or large fore-stomach, of these animals, microbial fermentation converts feed into products that can be digested and utilized by the animal. This microbial fermentation process, referred to as enteric fermentation, produces methane as a by-product, which can be exhaled by the animal. Methane is also produced in smaller quantities by the digestive processes of other animals, including humans, but emissions from these sources are insignificant. The U.S. inventory report provides a detailed description on methane emissions from livestock enteric fermentation and how they are estimated.

            The other main source of methane is from the actual poo as it decomposes.

            Livestock manure management. Methane is produced during the anaerobic (i.e., without oxygen) decomposition of organic material in livestock manure management systems. Liquid manure management systems, such as lagoons and holding tanks, can cause significant methane production and these systems are commonly used at larger swine and dairy operations. Manure deposited on fields and pastures, or otherwise handled in a dry form, produces insignificant amounts of methane. The U.S. inventory report provides a detailed description on methane emissions from livestock manure management and how they are estimated

          •  but fish oil (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marina, elizajade

            in this article in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), www.cmaj.ca (17 March 2009)
            is not advised because of the depletion of fish involved.

            The combined effect of rising demand and the collapse of local fisheries is that developed countries such as the United States, Japan and members of the European Union are increasingly importing large quantities of seafood from developing countries. The proportion of fish and fish products being traded on the global market is 40% versus 5% for rice.53 This demand puts intense pressure on developing countries either to allow access of foreign fishing fleets to their coastal fishing grounds54,55 or to export their fish to foreign markets. In either case, the local markets of developing countries,53 where basic nutrition and health are challenges (such as nations in West Africa),9,56 are deprived of an important source of protein for the sake of the developed world, whose major problems are overnutrition and physical inactivity.

             
            www.theglobeandmail.com 17 March 2009

            The pitch against fish consumption had one unusual author, for a medical journal. The well-known Canadian nature writer Farley Mowat reviewed the analysis and decided to lend his imprimatur to the call against seafood."I'm just desperately worried about what's happening to the life in the ocean, as everybody should be who thinks about it at all," Mr. Mowat said in an interview.

            Never separate the life you live from the words you speak - Paul Wellstone

            by meralda on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:39:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Rec'd for making the connections (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marina, meralda

              and why proposed 'solutions' aren't always that simple in terms of broad environmental effects. They can end up being robbing Peter to save Paul sorts of scenarios.  

               One of the indirect or direct effects depending on how one looks at it, on the West Coast are the ecological effects of the feed they have to eat. Much of the pellets are imported from places like South America. So whats happening? The fisheries down there are being diverted to pellet production and in some areas seeing more widespread depletion. Not only does it have ecological consequences but human consequences as well as people are seeing their own food sources strained.

              I'm not saying that fish oil shouldn't be looked at as a potential problem solver or mitigator just that without broadening that out to look at how suddenly feeding cattle oodles of fish oil would effect that broader eco-system or else the risk basically fixing one problem and creating or exacerbating problems in other places.  

    •  Agreed on all counts. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      andydoubtless

      "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:51:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is shoddy legislative writing (0+ / 0-)

        on an extremely important issue. Just floating the proposal as is gives Republicans potent ammunition in ag states for 2010.

        Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

        by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:58:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for putting this out there, By the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eternal Hope, andydoubtless, Mark27

    comments posted here, not everyone agrees. I will say it again, unless you want to a) assist Big AG in further capturing the food industry, 2) export the problem to the third world, 3) guarantee ag states will be Republican for the next twenty or so years,  leave small/med sized producers out of this.

    Just because something's old doesn't make it good. Just because something's new doesn't make it better.

    by the fan man on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:47:17 AM PDT

  •  A better proposal (5+ / 0-)

    Subsidize the cost of compliance on a sliding scale.  Small farmers would be fully subsidized, medium sized farmers partially subsidized, and large agribusiness operations minimally subsidized.

  •  Exempt farmers who don't breathe air or drink (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ashaman

    water.  This exemption should extend not only to farmers, but all human beings who do not exist on earth.  Only people who live on this planet should be required to solve planet-wide problems.  

    Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays at 5 PM PDT

    by indigoblueskies on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 10:49:07 AM PDT

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