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View Full Version : Cow Tax??? - yup, the EPA is considering a "fart tax" on livestock



Sporthorse Shop
Jan. 5, 2009, 07:04 PM
No, your eyes are not deceiving you, our stinking government is at it again. They are insistent on taxing you and your lifestyle until you become a zombie government slave. And before anyone starts complaining that this will only apply to those big evil commercial farms, read for comprehension. They want to tax as such:

“The tax for dairy cows could be $175 per cow, and $87.50 per head of beef cattle. The tax on hogs would upwards of $20 per hog,” the release said. “Any operation with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs would have to obtain permits.”

Those numbers are small family run farms and ranches. I propose a tax on every word a congressman speaks. There is so much hot air coming out of DC, we could balance the US budget within a month. I will be writing to my reps to complain about this. I know horses will be next on the tax list if this goes through.

Read on for this absurd idea coming out of DC:

http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2008/20081230165231.aspx

EPA 'Cow Tax' Could Charge $175 per Dairy Cow to Curb Greenhouse Gases
Farm Bureau warns just this one rule may increase milk production costs up to 8 cents a gallon.

By Jeff Poor
Business & Media Institute
1/5/2009 3:55:30 PM

Call this one of the newest and innovative ways your government has come up with to battle greenhouse gas emissions.

Indirectly it could be considered a cheeseburger tax, but one of the suggestions offered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) for regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act is to levy a tax on livestock.

The ANPR, released early this year, would give the EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gas for not only greenhouse gas from manmade sources like transportation and industry, but also “stationary” sources which would include livestock.

The New York Farm Bureau assigned a price tag to the cost of greenhouse gas regulation by the EPA in a release last month.

“The tax for dairy cows could be $175 per cow, and $87.50 per head of beef cattle. The tax on hogs would upwards of $20 per hog,” the release said. “Any operation with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs would have to obtain permits.”

Kate Galbraith, correspondent for The New York Times, noted on the Times’ “Green Inc.” blog that such a “proposal is far from being enacted” and that the “hysteria may be premature.”

But Rick Krause, senior director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau, warned it’s certainly feasible – especially based on the rhetoric of President-elect Barack Obama and the use of the EPA to combat global warming. Such action by an Obama administration would take an act of Congress for livestock to be exempt.

“The new president has been on record as saying that he really supports regulating greenhouse gases out of the Clean Air Act,” Krause said to the Business & Media Institute. “So, we really have to keep an eye on it. Legislation would really be the only way to exempt it at this point – the cow tax.”

Krause said it is difficult to quantify the cost that might be passed directly to the consumer by farmers from the legislation, but predicted it would mean higher costs for dairy production.

“It’s hard to figure what it would do to consumer prices since farmers, unlike other industries, really can’t pass their cost along directly like utilities and things do,” “About the only thing we could realistically come up, in terms of any of this stuff – it would add between 7 and 8 cents per gallon of milk costs to farmers. So it would cost them 7 or 8 cents more to produce a gallon of milk.”

Even the Department of Agriculture warned the EPA that smaller farms and ranches would have difficulty with limits as much as 100 tons annually on emissions:

“If GHG emissions from agricultural sources are regulated under the CAA, numerous farming operations that currently are not subject to the costly and time-consuming Title V permitting process would, for the first time, become covered entities. Even very small agricultural operations would meet a 100-tons-per-year emissions threshold. For example, dairy facilities with over 25 cows, beef cattle operations of over 50 cattle, swine operations with over 200 hogs, and farms with over 500 acres of corn may need to get a Title V permit. It is neither efficient nor practical to require permitting and reporting of GHG emissions from farms of this size. Excluding only the 200,000 largest commercial farms, our agricultural landscape is comprised of 1.9 million farms with an average value of production of $25,589 on 271 acres. These operations simply could not bear the regulatory compliance costs that would be involved.”

katarine
Jan. 5, 2009, 07:19 PM
more info here, too...
The proposal announced by the
EPA was an advance announcement in anticipation of an actual regulation
that would likely be brought up for government approval in 2009.
The EPA greenhouse gas emissions proposal would trigger a permitting
process that would include some livestock operations and potentially cause a
tremendous hardship for producers. “Any proposal officially posted by the
EPA for public comment is something that should be taken seriously,” said
Sparks. “This is a perfect example of why the EPA would post this type of
information on their website for comments, to get a reaction from farmers
and producers.” Sparks says that he and the Department of Agriculture &
Industries’ staff will continue to monitor the issue, work closely with other
agricultural organizations, and keep farmers abreast of any updates.
More information about this proposed regulation can be found online
at http://www.epa.gov/EPA-AIR/2008/July/Day-30/a16432a.htm.

JSwan
Jan. 5, 2009, 07:52 PM
The only fart tax this country needs is one on politicians.

Daydream Believer
Jan. 5, 2009, 09:22 PM
That really is so far out there that its hard to believe...but then so is NAIS and other such things. Amazing...just amazing!

tx3dayeventer
Jan. 5, 2009, 09:33 PM
Seriously, if this @#(*%$ tax passes then the price of beef and milk are going to go through the roof. The average American will not be able to afford any bovine products (milk, cheese, beef, etc).

We raise beef cattle and our profit per cow is about $90. If they tax us $87.50 then our profit goes out the window and we can no longer afford to produce beef. If every beef producer faces this then there will be no beef.

This is the dumbest damn tax I have ever heard of!!!!!! The politicians in congress can't possible let this thing pass.

mybeau1999
Jan. 5, 2009, 09:52 PM
...................dumbest thing I've ever heard. seriously.

Elisha
Jan. 5, 2009, 09:55 PM
It just makes no sense. They say they are doing it to keep the air clean, but the government doesn't do anything about all the sugar cane fields that are burnt every year in Louisiana. It is so bad that it actually "snows" ash around here.....now that certainly can't be good for the air.

Sporthorse Shop
Jan. 5, 2009, 10:20 PM
Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I think those tax rates are yearly. If it is just a one time tax per animal when is the tax payed? What if the animal dies before any profit is obtained, is the tax reimbursed (obviously no). If the cow is sold, who pays the tax? These questions lead me to think it is a yearly tax for the number of head. As well , I think they are going to run this much like the taxes they will levy on non-living emission producing businesses.

So, the person who only makes $90 per cow will lose money on that cow because of the tax.

BasqueMom
Jan. 5, 2009, 11:51 PM
Wonder how much it will cost in studies to figure out how much a cow farts annually?
Surely, it will vary with the type of grain and grass/hay it eats. And then not all cows
fart equally as all people do not fart equally.

Truly wonder where these idjits get these ideas......and they are probably the first ones to
complain about increased prices when they go shopping. Sigh!

poltroon
Jan. 6, 2009, 02:23 AM
If you read the document, this is the EPA having a temper tantrum.

http://www.epa.gov/EPA-AIR/2008/July/Day-30/a16432a.htm

The EPA lost a court case, Massachusetts v. EPA, where 12 states sued the EPA asking it to regulate greenhouse gases in 2003. The EPA administrator refused. They not only refused to regulate, but they blocked states from creating their own regulations.

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/06pdf/05-1120.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_v._Environmental_Protection_Agency
http://www.pewclimate.org/epavsma.cfm

(One might note that this happened in the days of cheap oil, when GM et al were horrified that the actions of these states might cut into their SUV profits. The US automakers were also key players in the suit. Better to spend money on lawyers rather than technology, eh?)

So EPA's response is this "advance notice of rulemaking". IE, "fine, we'll regulate your stupid greenhouse gases, and we'll make it as obnoxious as possible, nyah nyah!"


SUMMARY: This advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) presents
information relevant to, and solicits public comment on, how to respond
to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA. In that
case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act)
authorizes regulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) because they meet the
definition of air pollutant under the Act. In view of the potential
ramifications of a decision to regulate GHGs under the Act, the notice
reviews the various CAA provisions that may be applicable to regulate
GHGs, examines the issues that regulating GHGs under those provisions
may raise, provides information regarding potential regulatory
approaches and technologies for reducing GHG emissions, and raises
issues relevant to possible legislation and the potential for overlap
between legislation and CAA regulation. In addition, the notice
describes and solicits comment on petitions the Agency has received to
regulate GHG emissions from ships, aircraft and nonroad vehicles such
as farm and construction equipment. Finally, the notice discusses
several other actions concerning stationary sources for which EPA has
received comment regarding the regulation of GHG emissions.
The implications of a decision to regulate GHGs under the Act are
so far-reaching that a number of other federal agencies have offered
critical comments and raised serious questions during interagency
review of EPA's ANPR. Rather than attempt to forge a consensus on
matters of great complexity, controversy, and active legislative
debate, the Administrator has decided to publish the views of other
agencies and to seek comment on the full range of issues that they
raise. These comments appear in the Supplemental Information, below,
followed by the June 17 draft of the ANPR preamble prepared by EPA, to
which the comments apply. None of these documents represents a policy
decision by the EPA, but all are intended to advance the public debate
and to help inform the federal government's decisions regarding climate
change.


"If you make us regulate it, we'll be forced to write the regulations really badly because the Mean Old Supreme Court made us!"


Preface From the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

In this Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR), the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks comment on analyses and
policy alternatives regarding greenhouse gas (GHG) effects and
regulation under the Clean Air Act. In particular, EPA seeks comment on
the document entitled ``Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:
Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act'' and
observations and issues raised by other federal agencies. This notice
responds to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Massachusetts v. EPA
and numerous petitions related to the potential regulation of
greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
EPA's analyses leading up to this ANPR have increasingly raised

[[Page 44355]]

questions of such importance that the scope of the agency's task has
continued to expand. For instance, it has become clear that if EPA were
to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles under the
Clean Air Act, then regulation of smaller stationary sources that also
emit GHGs--such as apartment buildings, large homes, schools, and
hospitals--could also be triggered. One point is clear: The potential
regulation of greenhouse gases under any portion of the Clean Air Act
could result in an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority that would
have a profound effect on virtually every sector of the economy and
touch every household in the land.
This ANPR reflects the complexity and magnitude of the question of
whether and how greenhouse gases could be effectively controlled under
the Clean Air Act. This document summarizes much of EPA's work and lays
out concerns raised by other federal agencies during their review of
this work. EPA is publishing this notice today because it is impossible
to simultaneously address all the agencies' issues and respond to our
legal obligations in a timely manner.
I believe the ANPR demonstrates the Clean Air Act, an outdated law
originally enacted to control regional pollutants that cause direct
health effects, is ill-suited for the task of regulating global
greenhouse gases. Based on the analysis to date, pursuing this course
of action would inevitably result in a very complicated, time-consuming
and, likely, convoluted set of regulations. These rules would largely
pre-empt or overlay existing programs that help control greenhouse gas
emissions and would be relatively ineffective at reducing greenhouse
gas concentrations given the potentially damaging effect on jobs and
the U.S. economy.

Given that we're getting a new EPA administrator, and given that the comment period is expired, I think we can all relax about this particular document for now. And no worries, there were plenty of comments agreeing with the EPA director. Indeed, the alarming numbers cited are not from the EPA, but from someone working from a comment submitted by the Department of Agriculture, to wit:


If GHG emissions from agricultural sources are regulated under the
CAA, numerous farming operations that currently are not subject to the
costly and time-consuming Title V permitting process would, for the
first time, become covered entities. Even very small agricultural
operations would meet a 100-tons-per-year emissions threshold. For
example, dairy facilities with over 25 cows, beef cattle operations of
over 50 cattle, swine operations with over 200 hogs, and farms with
over 500 acres of corn may need to get a Title V permit. It is neither
efficient nor practical to require permitting and reporting of GHG
emissions from farms of this size. Excluding only the 200,000 largest
commercial farms, our agricultural landscape is comprised of 1.9
million farms with an average value of production of $25,589 on 271
acres. These operations simply could not bear the regulatory compliance
costs that would be involved.

It's not happening. And if it comes up again, there will be a new comment period.

SLW
Jan. 6, 2009, 08:01 AM
Seriously, if this @#(*%$ tax passes then the price of beef and milk are going to go through the roof. The average American will not be able to afford any bovine products (milk, cheese, beef, etc).

We raise beef cattle and our profit per cow is about $90. If they tax us $87.50 then our profit goes out the window and we can no longer afford to produce beef. If every beef producer faces this then there will be no beef.

This is the dumbest damn tax I have ever heard of!!!!!! The politicians in congress can't possible let this thing pass.

Your about to deal with the new FDA rules on dead cow pick up too. That is going add some expense, especially for the dairy herds. The rendering company we use has started implementing changes to comply, except word on the street is they arent even going to pick up anything older than 24 months so as to be well out of the 30 month zone the govt mandated for testing.

DairyQueen2049
Jan. 6, 2009, 08:08 AM
Don't ANYONE mention the horse fart button!!!!!! :eek: :eek: :winkgrin: :lol:

Frank B
Jan. 6, 2009, 09:42 AM
Think it's bad now? Wait'll after Jan. 20th!

tx3dayeventer
Jan. 6, 2009, 09:50 AM
Your about to deal with the new FDA rules on dead cow pick up too. That is going add some expense, especially for the dairy herds. The rendering company we use has started implementing changes to comply, except word on the street is they arent even going to pick up anything older than 24 months so as to be well out of the 30 month zone the govt mandated for testing.

We already have to pay $35 a "cow" (could include steers & heifers) to have the rendering company come pick them up. Luckily, most of our beefs are less than 30 months anyways. We can't bury them (via mass pit) because we are under such strict groundwater regulations thanks to the TEQC (Texas Environmental Quality Commission). We have 3 legumes that must catch all runoff and they have to be sledged twice a year at quite a high cost $$$$.

Between the environmental wackjobs and if this tax passes, there will seriously not be anyone producing beef. Then people are going to b&^ch when a sirloin is $30 and a pound of hamburger jumps to about $10 a pound.

Bluey
Jan. 6, 2009, 09:53 AM
We already have to pay $35 a "cow" (could include steers & heifers) to have the rendering company come pick them up. Luckily, most of our beefs are less than 30 months anyways. We can't bury them (via mass pit) because we are under such strict groundwater regulations thanks to the TEQC (Texas Environmental Quality Commission). We have 3 legumes that must catch all runoff and they have to be sledged twice a year at quite a high cost $$$$.

Between the environmental wackjobs and if this tax passes, there will seriously not be anyone producing beef. Then people are going to b&^ch when a sirloin is $30 and a pound of hamburger jumps to about $10 a pound.

Nope, we will be importing beef from countries that can produce it for peanuts, because they don't have those very costly rules to abide by.
We already do so with most of our other produce, vegetables, fruit and nuts.

tx3dayeventer
Jan. 6, 2009, 10:00 AM
Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I think those tax rates are yearly. If it is just a one time tax per animal when is the tax payed? What if the animal dies before any profit is obtained, is the tax reimbursed (obviously no). If the cow is sold, who pays the tax? These questions lead me to think it is a yearly tax for the number of head. As well , I think they are going to run this much like the taxes they will levy on non-living emission producing businesses.

So, the person who only makes $90 per cow will lose money on that cow because of the tax.

It would be hard to do on a yearly basis, so my understanding is it was a "per cow" tax. The yearly tax would be difficult because it is very difficult to guess how many bovines there will be on a property in any given year. If you ran a cow/calf operation, those numbers would be easier to figure than a feedlot or preconditioning yard. Even with the cow/calf you would have to figure in the weather, grass availability, etc etc. If the price of cattle drops, we buy buy buy. If the price remains steady we have a steady flow of beefs. So it would be hard to do on a yearly basis. My guess is that they would perhaps implement the tax at the sale barn or do it like vehicle registration (each beef would need an ear tag stating that beefs tax has been paid)

tx3dayeventer
Jan. 6, 2009, 10:01 AM
Nope, we will be importing beef from countries that can produce it for peanuts, because they don't have those very costly rules to abide by.
We already do so with most of our other produce, vegetables, fruit and nuts.

YUCK! Seriously! At least if we keep them produced here in the States we can regulate how they are slaughtered, the cleanliness of the plant, etc etc.

S1969
Jan. 6, 2009, 10:28 AM
Perhaps this is the wrong audience for this discussion, but I don't think there is any argument from any party that factory farms/CAFOs are huge pollutants - water, air, and can contribute to global warming. I haven't read this specific tax proposal, but I don't see how anyone could be surprised that the EPA will eventually step in.

Not to mention, the price of beef is pretty darn cheap. If the average American can afford to eat meat at every meal, it's not exactly expensive. *Good meat*...well, that's different. But large factory farms and CAFOs sell an abundance of their meat to giants like McDonald's and Walmart.

I'll glady pay more for beef that was grass fed on small farms and not fattened in 5 months on corn, rendered fat and antibiotics. Talk about yuck!

Bluey
Jan. 6, 2009, 10:29 AM
I will try to explain what all this EPA stuff is, one of the greatest bureocratic boondoggles and government make believe jobs a certain administration with debts to those groups expanded to the monster we have today.

Why do I say that? Because the EPA, in a very narrow interpretation of their mandate, puts their rules above people or economies or cultures.

Where we are now with that mess is carbon credits and demerits.

If you have any livestock, cattle/pigs/horses producing gasses, you have to pay so much for thier "emissions" as per the EPA tables.
If you have grass, you get so many credits, as grass production is considered positive in their tables.
In the end, you pay, or have credits to sell to someone else, according to what the EPA decides your operation rates.

Those of us with cattle on pastures will be getting our carbon credits just for having pastures, the demerits from the cattle we carry, that will be considerably less than our credits.

Those in dairies of feedlots will have so many cattle and nothing to offset their "emissions" as per the EPA tables, so they will have to pay that tax or buy credit producing business or grassland, or buy credits from their neighbors.
This applies to those that keep horses in stables or drylots, or in larger pastures.

I think that those in foreign countries are laughing themselves silly at how we are self destroying with the most absurd ideas and polices, pushed, voted in and mandated by extremists out of control.

The figures used to say livestock emmisssions are harmful are way off, as their own EPA studies show, but no one cares, they plow right on with this:



---"8/6/2008 2:01:00 PM


Cattle Don't Have Much To Do With Global Warming



ST. PAUL, Minn. - Since the release of a United Nations (U.N.) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report in 2006, we've heard more and more about the carbon footprints and the green house gases generated in livestock production. That report claims that, on a global basis, raising livestock generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in carbon dioxide equivalent than use of fossil fuels in driving cars and trucks. This story has appeared over and over again in the media.



A second study that was release by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) didn't receive much media attention, but it should. The EPA report titled "U.S. Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks" crunched the numbers to determine that 80 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels and only 2.3 percent from food animal production.



Although the EPA data clearly show the FAO statistics are irrelevant in the United States, mainstream media and online sources have called for Americans to reduce meat consumption to save the planet. Beef checkoff-funded media monitoring data show that cattle and global warming was the fourth-most covered beef industry environmental story in the past 12 months. Consumers are being told they can reduce global warming by reducing the amount of meat their household consumes.



That's undoubtedly bad news for America's beef producers, especially when we realize that the average American consumer is only eating beef twice a week to start with. For most farm and ranch families, only one beef meal a week is unthinkable, but for the average consumer it's not that big of a leap.



Research shows that that 55 percent of Americans believe global warming is occurring because of human activity, and needs immediate attention. Some consumers may be more likely to give up a steak than their SUV. It's the responsibility of cattle producers and industry partners to ensure that they're taking excellent care of the environment and telling the world about it."---

Bluey
Jan. 6, 2009, 10:38 AM
Perhaps this is the wrong audience for this discussion, but I don't think there is any argument from any party that factory farms/CAFOs are huge pollutants - water, air, and can contribute to global warming. I haven't read this specific tax proposal, but I don't see how anyone could be surprised that the EPA will eventually step in.

Not to mention, the price of beef is pretty darn cheap. If the average American can afford to eat meat at every meal, it's not exactly expensive. *Good meat*...well, that's different. But large factory farms and CAFOs sell an abundance of their meat to giants like McDonald's and Walmart.

I'll glady pay more for beef that was grass fed on small farms and not fattened in 5 months on corn, rendered fat and antibiotics. Talk about yuck!

That is cheap talk and vastly exagerated.

Most of the pollution our society produces is from people living in cities.
Golf courses and yards buy and use more fertilizer and herbicides than all of agriculture for now the past 5 or 6 years, according to the chemical industry sale figures.

I would like to see us try to feed this country without the larger factory farming enterprises.:eek:
Sorry, that "small" farmers could feed all is just not realistic, even if they all were the best at keeping the food clean and safe, which in my experience it is not so.

S1969
Jan. 6, 2009, 10:49 AM
A second study that was release by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) didn't receive much media attention, but it should. The EPA report titled "U.S. Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks" crunched the numbers to determine that 80 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions come from the combustion of fossil fuels and only 2.3 percent from food animal production.

But wait - how many fossil fuels are used to produce these food animals? We shouldn't be calculating just the actual greenhouse gas emissions produced BY livestock (their own gas emissions) but the combustion of fossil fuels required to produce livestock as food. This means the gas in the tractors that plant the corn needed to feed livestock, the petroleum-based fertilizers sprayed on the corn, the gas in the trucks to deliver the feed to the feedlots by the tons, the transport of beef from the CAFO to the supermarket, etc.

I don't think it's cheap talk and vastly exaggerated. Here is a quote from one author that did the math, and obviously people will consider this a biased source, but "If every US citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would recude our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week." (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver).

So whether or not this particular EPA regulation will solve the real problem, I don't know; perhaps the fees should be applied to all parties, not just the cattle owner (or maybe they already are). But it's not really fair to say that the production of animals as food doesn't have an environmental impact.

Bluey
Jan. 6, 2009, 10:55 AM
Lets try to put what our society consumes in perspective with an example, should we?:)

What is the impact of our horse industry, from the paper that goes into our horse magazines, thru all it takes to produce the hay, grains and all else we feed our horses, to the factories to make pickups, horse trailers and all other our industry demands, including the fuel to make and run all that?

All that for a HOBBY, not food to kept people fed, especially since we don't eat horses?;)

Sakura
Jan. 6, 2009, 11:04 AM
A "fart tax"? Seriously? Please tell me that April Fool's Day has come early this year... because that is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard!

Guilherme
Jan. 6, 2009, 11:15 AM
If you sign on to the theory of "androgenic global warming" then regulation by taxation, with an eye toward reduction, of methane is a Very Good Thing. The particular source of the methane (industrial, organic, whatever) is irrelevant. This whole project falls very much into the "be careful what you ask for, you might get it" category. ;)

Horses are not generally used as food in the U.S. but do produce large amounts of methane. If a government madated reduction program comes along then look for the heavy hand of the Feds to begin to rest upon the equine industry.

Or, put another way, always remember the Second of the Three Great Lies: We're the government; we're here to help you. :lol:

G.

S1969
Jan. 6, 2009, 11:22 AM
Lets try to put what our society consumes in perspective with an example, should we?:)

What is the impact of our horse industry, from the paper that goes into our horse magazines, thru all it takes to produce the hay, grains and all else we feed our horses, to the factories to make pickups, horse trailers and all other our industry demands, including the fuel to make and run all that?

All that for a HOBBY, not food to kept people fed, especially since we don't eat horses?;)

You are right. We definitely should put things in perspective. I wish someone would write a good book (maybe there is one out there?) about what things the average person can do that will really make a difference. If I don't wash out my peanut butter jars and throw them in the landfill am I a bad person? In comparison to all the waste produced by industrial factories? But still, we are pressured to feel like we're hurting the environment if we don't recycle our peanut butter jars.

It would be really interesting to see what the impact of the horse industry as a hobby is on the environment. I would imagine it is far less than the food industry, but it might be more than we think. After all, I know my hay supplier uses petroleum-based fertilizers.

Not to mention it sounds as though the government is deeply involved in the problem, as well. Very interesting discussion on corn production and today's farmers by Michael Pollan in The Omnivore's Dilemma, and he blames the gov't for most of it. :)

au_panda
Jan. 6, 2009, 11:34 AM
"I think that those in foreign countries are laughing themselves silly at how we are self destroying with the most absurd ideas and polices, pushed, voted in and mandated by extremists out of control."I wonder which countries are being referred to. Europe is heavily regulated, 2 examples. Farm in England, within the last 12 months, has sold it's dairy herd because dairy is no longer profitable due to regulations to control slurry and prevent ground water contamination. This was a dairy that received an award from the government for its farming practices just 10 or so years ago. This same farm has eliminated pig production completely as slurry regulation has made production unprofitable. Holland, very heavy pig production in parts of the country to the point where every aspect of production was regulated due to contamination of the water table and people's drinking water supply which resulted in fewer pigs and pig farms - which was the goal of the regulation.

Prices? Value added tax (sales tax equivalent) in England is 18.5%. Housing costs in pounds what it costs here in dollars (meaning if you do the math at the current exchange rate, housing costs 50% more than it does here). Petrol (gasoline) is bought by the liter (not the gallon) and runs .79 pounds per liter (about $4.75 per gallon).

The argument could be made that short-term profit motives have resulted in us being years behind other country's efforts to control degradation of the planet. Short-term outlook has also giving us the foreclosure/housing collapse, the Madoff ponzy scheme, excessive executive compensation, etc. etc. etc.

We could serve ourselves better by focusing on fundamentals, like supporting agricultural land use and food production, domestic manufacturing of industrial and consumer products, reduction in use of petroleum products - uh, the list is endless.

I think those in the countries that are loaning us money to maintain our "service based" economy are laughing themselves silly.

poltroon
Jan. 6, 2009, 12:12 PM
You are right. We definitely should put things in perspective. I wish someone would write a good book (maybe there is one out there?) about what things the average person can do that will really make a difference. If I don't wash out my peanut butter jars and throw them in the landfill am I a bad person? In comparison to all the waste produced by industrial factories? But still, we are pressured to feel like we're hurting the environment if we don't recycle our peanut butter jars.

Here, recycling is picked up just like trash. You don't have to wash out your peanut butter jar, just put it in a separate bin.

Since we don't do curbside pickup, but take our trash to the dump, we are charged per volume for our trash. Recycling is free in any volume. It saves us money to recycle.

Setting up your community to make it easy for people to recycle is a great way to make a difference.

caffeinated
Jan. 6, 2009, 12:18 PM
But wait - how many fossil fuels are used to produce these food animals? We shouldn't be calculating just the actual greenhouse gas emissions produced BY livestock (their own gas emissions) but the combustion of fossil fuels required to produce livestock as food. This means the gas in the tractors that plant the corn needed to feed livestock, the petroleum-based fertilizers sprayed on the corn, the gas in the trucks to deliver the feed to the feedlots by the tons, the transport of beef from the CAFO to the supermarket, etc.

I don't think it's cheap talk and vastly exaggerated. Here is a quote from one author that did the math, and obviously people will consider this a biased source, but "If every US citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would recude our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week." (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver).

So whether or not this particular EPA regulation will solve the real problem, I don't know; perhaps the fees should be applied to all parties, not just the cattle owner (or maybe they already are). But it's not really fair to say that the production of animals as food doesn't have an environmental impact.

I agree with you. I think that calling it the "fart tax" is an interesting way to undercut and mock the reality of the situation.

I'm not sure the current proposals are workable- I would like to see credits for smaller farms with sustainable waste management programs, I think (then again, I haven't read toooo much about this so I could be making stuff up now).

But the reality of large farms are that they are environmental nightmares. Anyone who's been near a giant hog farm, with their pools of waste, would know that. I think this is about more than "farts" although that's a really easy way to make fun of the legislation attempts and make them seem silly, like something John Stossel would do.

Bluey
Jan. 6, 2009, 12:23 PM
I wonder which countries are being referred to.

...

...
I think those in the countries that are loaning us money to maintain our "service based" economy are laughing themselves silly.

China, Russia, Brazil, some of the arab states, many that would be happy if the western way of life the USA represents would not be any more the one they had to compete with.

S1969
Jan. 6, 2009, 03:19 PM
Here, recycling is picked up just like trash. You don't have to wash out your peanut butter jar, just put it in a separate bin.

Since we don't do curbside pickup, but take our trash to the dump, we are charged per volume for our trash. Recycling is free in any volume. It saves us money to recycle.

Setting up your community to make it easy for people to recycle is a great way to make a difference.

Well, I was sort of joking about the peanut butter jars, although I definitely would not put them out unwashed in nice weather or I'm sure there would be all sorts of varmints in my curbside bin.

What I really meant was whether household recycling really makes a dent in the overall recycling of glass/metal/paper? Will it make a difference globally if I personally carpool places, get a more efficient car, or turn down my thermostat?

When making choices of how we act....it's hard to know where you (as an individual/consumer) can make any impact. Personally, since we spend a lot of our money on food (far more than gas in our cars), that looking at our food choices is a good place to start.

Just because the pollutants being released into the air by dirty coal plants in 3rd world countries are worse than those being released by "cow farts" doesn't mean we shouldn't consider making improvements to what we can.

SkipHiLad4me
Jan. 6, 2009, 03:38 PM
That is cheap talk and vastly exagerated. [cut]
I would like to see us try to feed this country without the larger factory farming enterprises.:eek:
Sorry, that "small" farmers could feed all is just not realistic, even if they all were the best at keeping the food clean and safe, which in my experience it is not so.


Thank you Bluey :yes:

You may dislike the large commercial farming operations but that's what puts the food on the table of millions of Americans. There is no way that we could provide the amount of food to the nation that we do without these commercial operations. I myself would prefer to buy food produced in the US versus buying from somewhere like China. :dead: Unfortunately that's exactly what we'll have to do if we continue to cripple our agriculture industry and put our farmers out of business. It's ridiculous. Buying locally is great (I do it whenever I can) but realistically there isn't enough food produced for everyone to go down the street to their friendly small scale farmer.

JSwan
Jan. 6, 2009, 03:42 PM
There is no way to feed over 300 million people using the "small family farm" model.

If you want to avoid fart taxes, quit having so many babies. We're polluting the earth because the only population we can't control is our own.

I have a "small family farm" and grow/raise almost all my food, and also preserve it. I sell herd shares - again - very small scale. It sounds very quaint, doesn't it.

Nope. There's no way to meet consumer demand. In the small farm model, you don't get strawberries in January. You preserve the summer harvest and if that runs out - that's it. If you get a bumper crop of beans, guess what you're eating for the next 6 months. Lids didn't seal properly? Too bad - your hard work is wasted. Your livestock is raised and finished on grass and tastes nothing like what is in the store. Egg yolks might be green or orange. Chickens pick through poop and then the farmer cuts off their heads in the barnyard and packages the meat for you. No fancy facilities, no vats, no disinfecting chemical footbaths.

Too many people nowadays would throw up at the mere thought. It isn't quaint, and there is no way that model could feed the nation. Sorry.

tx3dayeventer
Jan. 6, 2009, 03:47 PM
There is no way to feed over 300 million people using the "small family farm" model.

If you want to avoid fart taxes, quit having so many babies. We're polluting the earth because the only population we can't control is our own.

If that isn't the truth, I am not sure what is!!!!!!!!!

Bravo, JSwan!

S1969
Jan. 6, 2009, 03:58 PM
There is no way to feed over 300 million people using the "small family farm" model.

Nope. There's no way to meet consumer demand.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that everyone needs to be fed on the "small family farm" model. But then again, we are the fattest country on the planet. I think our consumer demands might be a bit too high.

JSwan
Jan. 6, 2009, 04:20 PM
I don't think anyone is suggesting that everyone needs to be fed on the "small family farm" model. But then again, we are the fattest country on the planet. I think our consumer demands might be a bit too high.

I'll agree with you there. We went from kids with rickets to kids with rickets. First they had rickets because the lacked nutrition, and now they have rickets because they lack good nutrition.

Nevertheless, the small family farm is zoned and regulated out of anything except a niche market. The first time someone cracked and egg and the yolk was green, I'd be sued. You should see the incredible labeling requirements for the simplest farm product. The regulations pertaining to on-site sales of certain products.

All that is really consumer driven. If a farmer is really committed to the model you envision, the cost of the end product is exorbitant. No one is getting a decent living wage from that model, unless the land and equipment is paid for.

So it becomes a niche market, which is a very risky business venture. The farmers markets and egg selling business goes straight to hell when the economy takes a downturn, and yet there is still a mortgage to pay, livestock to feed, and next years crops to plan and plant.

Let's say I want to buy a dozen eggs. At the grocery store, they're what. 2$? (someone correct me because I don't buy them). I pick them up, pay the cashier and I'm done. 2$.

Now let's say I wanted to produce my own eggs to sell. I must make a brooder, buy lamps, chick feed, grit, build a coop, purchase chicks, care for the chicks constantly, make sure they get adequate nutrition, ventilation, vaccinations, and then maybe some of them die anyway. Then they start to free-range, and even though I've purchased netting and other equipment, predators kill a few. After about 6 months the few I have left start laying eggs.

Then I have to grade the eggs, oil them or they'll go bad before I can sell them, so I have to purchase all that equipment. Then I have to purchase egg crates, and pay for all the required labeling. Then I have to pay for electricity to store them so they don't go bad. I also have to ensure I comply with all regulations concerning egg sales, purchase a stand for the farmers market, spend the gas to get there and back, buy coolers to keep my eggs fresh, and then hope someone buys them.

Now how much do you think I need to charge for those eggs?

This doesn't take into account feeding the hens through a molt, replacing hens when they die, what to do about the spent hens, paying taxes, having a business plan, complying with zoning regulations, paying for banking fees, etc.

If anyone has read to this point, you may now have a teeny bit of an idea of what goes into that little egg carton.

The End. :no:

Rienzi
Jan. 6, 2009, 04:31 PM
If they put a fart tax on cows, I think it would make sense to have a fart tax on vegetarians. All them collard greens! Salads! Squash!

S1969
Jan. 6, 2009, 05:06 PM
Nevertheless, the small family farm is zoned and regulated out of anything except a niche market. The first time someone cracked and egg and the yolk was green, I'd be sued. You should see the incredible labeling requirements for the simplest farm product. The regulations pertaining to on-site sales of certain products.

All that is really consumer driven. If a farmer is really committed to the model you envision, the cost of the end product is exorbitant. No one is getting a decent living wage from that model, unless the land and equipment is paid for.

I understand, and it stinks. I think there are probably lots of farmers who would like to sell locally but can't make a living from it for these reasons, which are the wrong reasons! I feel, however, that we often look at these vast problems that our country has (like the US Education system) and since it's so overwhelming to envision changing it, we give up. It can't be done overnight, and you're right - you can't feed 300 million people on family farms. But somewhere there has to be a better choice than one end of the continuum or another.

BTW, I paid $3.50 for eggs at the farmers market Sunday. Not sure what they cost in the store, either. But this farmer sells out within an hour of the farmer's market so I think he could charge a whole lot more and still sell out.

poltroon
Jan. 6, 2009, 05:19 PM
Well, I was sort of joking about the peanut butter jars, although I definitely would not put them out unwashed in nice weather or I'm sure there would be all sorts of varmints in my curbside bin.

I leave the lids on. (Actually, I reuse peanut butter jars, but in general, I leave lids on.)



What I really meant was whether household recycling really makes a dent in the overall recycling of glass/metal/paper? Will it make a difference globally if I personally carpool places, get a more efficient car, or turn down my thermostat?

In California, I think we are seeing that over half of the material that previously went into landfills is now being recycled. When you think about how many canyons we've filled with trash, it's definitely making a difference here. And it's just plain silly to bury aluminum and steel with one hand and dig it out of the ground with the other.

JSwan
Jan. 6, 2009, 05:47 PM
BTW, I paid $3.50 for eggs at the farmers market Sunday. Not sure what they cost in the store, either. But this farmer sells out within an hour of the farmer's market so I think he could charge a whole lot more and still sell out.

And how many dozens does that farmer need to sell in order to make a living at it?

I'm talking about his income. His paycheck.

The "we" you refer to is people like me. I'm a real person, and I really exist and have to wade through reams of paper in order to make sure that I don't get hauled off in handcuffs for putting "natural" on my label and I didn't realize that this year, some bureaucrat decided that "natural" meant something different than it did the year before.

You do realize that people get arrested for a little thing like running out of labels and using an old label? Or maybe they want to sell beef or pork and the USDA comes and pours bleach all over everything?


I'm using eggs/chickens because it's an easy example. If you want a poultry exempt permit, you need to have fewer than a particular number. Except that you can't make any money unless you go over than number. Except that if you go over that number, you can't afford to purchase the extraordinary amount of equipment needed.

So you stay under the number, but you can't make any money at it. At least not enough to do much except pay your electric bill for a few months.

Maybe the only way you can do it is you put your kids to work. Unpaid labor. So the kids work on the farm; maybe not going to college (which you can't afford to send them to anyway because you can't sell enough eggs because you can't go over the poultry exemption number without purchasing expensive equipment)

It can be done. Unless the USDA decides to make an example of you like they've done to some farmers in this state. Come and shut you down.

Farming isn't fun in the best of times; it's a lot of work. Some folks here on this BB have large operations and do just fine. Others do it for a part-time income and that's ok too.

The system, driven by consumer demand for "sameness", is what drives the regulations and results in the gigantic operations no one likes. That and our inability to keep from breeding like rabbits.

It's not as simple as saying, Oh, just buy from the small family farm. It's disappearing and has been for the past 50 years. Less than 1% of the population farms.

Sdhaurmsmom
Jan. 6, 2009, 05:59 PM
Perhaps this is the wrong audience for this discussion, but I don't think there is any argument from any party that factory farms/CAFOs are huge pollutants - water, air, and can contribute to global warming. I haven't read this specific tax proposal, but I don't see how anyone could be surprised that the EPA will eventually step in.

Not to mention, the price of beef is pretty darn cheap. If the average American can afford to eat meat at every meal, it's not exactly expensive. *Good meat*...well, that's different. But large factory farms and CAFOs sell an abundance of their meat to giants like McDonald's and Walmart.

I'll glady pay more for beef that was grass fed on small farms and not fattened in 5 months on corn, rendered fat and antibiotics. Talk about yuck!

Hear, hear. If folks aren't willing to face some changes in the future, regarding how the production and manufacturing of goods depletes the non-replaceable qualities of the world we all depend on - (in effect, meat producers are using/degrading resources like clean groundwater and air without any intention or plan of how to remediate the damages done) - we're all going to get to hell in a handbasket a lot sooner than we think. :no:

S1969
Jan. 6, 2009, 06:17 PM
And how many dozens does that farmer need to sell in order to make a living at it?

I'm talking about his income. His paycheck.

The "we" you refer to is people like me.

I get it.

I have no idea how many eggs he sells to make a living, or if he's even making a living.

Maybe part of the solutions is to make it easier for small farmers to be profitable; cutting out some of the red tape; easing up on the regulations? Or imposing a gas-tax on cows and hoping the price goes up, demand goes down, and people start going to their local farmers instead?

I don't know what the solution is, but I don't think we should just say there is no solution. That it's impossible to survive in our country without petroleum-fertilized hybrid corn that farmers can barely afford to grow so that McDonald's and Walmart can buy CAFO cows and chickens. If a "gas tax" will make McDonald's less profitable, then I'm all for it.

Bluey
Jan. 6, 2009, 09:44 PM
Hear, hear. If folks aren't willing to face some changes in the future, regarding how the production and manufacturing of goods depletes the non-replaceable qualities of the world we all depend on - (in effect, meat producers are using/degrading resources like clean groundwater and air without any intention or plan of how to remediate the damages done) - we're all going to get to hell in a handbasket a lot sooner than we think. :no:

Not really. Those farmers are using resources to produce something necessary.

There is so much more we are doing just to make people happy, that people want, that is not necessary, like keeping all those highways for people to live in suburbs or just drive here and there, to visit or to go to vacation spots, etc. and the cars and supplies to keep them running.

People in countries that don't have much live with a much lower standard and use much less.
Do we want everyone to go live in high rise 500 square feet apartments, extended families in there, no cars, using public transportation, not living in farmettes and keeping horses for pleasure, or boats or whatever?
That would preserve resources.:yes:

Who will be the first one to give up what they have, really give it up, the computer they are typing in included, the horses and other pets, the places they live in?
Remember, here in the USA, we are at the very top of the food chain.

I don't think people in the USA even understand how much of the world still lives, when they try to "be green" and not pollute and clean peanut jars before recycling them and be so proud of doing that, when we are using enough resources in our lives a month to keep several families in third world countries alive for a year.

Farmers are really trying their best to provide and to protect the land and other resources best they can, because they and their families depend on them doing a good job just as the rest of the people do.
Farmers generally live where they farm and use the wells there and smell the air and are also buying the same food and other products the rest do in the grocery store.

To want to blame on farmers our polluted world is really being shortsighted, when it is our lives that do the most polluting.

S1969
Jan. 6, 2009, 10:35 PM
Not really. Those farmers are using resources to produce something necessary.

There is so much more we are doing just to make people happy, that people want, that is not necessary, like keeping all those highways for people to live in suburbs or just drive here and there, to visit or to go to vacation spots, etc. and the cars and supplies to keep them running.

People in countries that don't have much live with a much lower standard and use much less.
Do we want everyone to go live in high rise 500 square feet apartments, extended families in there, no cars, using public transportation, not living in farmettes and keeping horses for pleasure, or boats or whatever?
That would preserve resources.:yes:

Who will be the first one to give up what they have, really give it up, the computer they are typing in included, the horses and other pets, the places they live in?
Remember, here in the USA, we are at the very top of the food chain.

I don't think people in the USA even understand how much of the world still lives, when they try to "be green" and not pollute and clean peanut jars before recycling them and be so proud of doing that, when we are using enough resources in our lives a month to keep several families in third world countries alive for a year.

Farmers are really trying their best to provide and to protect the land and other resources best they can, because they and their families depend on them doing a good job just as the rest of the people do.
Farmers generally live where they farm and use the wells there and smell the air and are also buying the same food and other products the rest do in the grocery store.

To want to blame on farmers our polluted world is really being shortsighted, when it is our lives that do the most polluting.

I don't blame farmers at all. I blame multinational corporations for affecting the market so greatly that farmers have no choice but to sell their products to them. (The McDonalds, Walmarts, and Archers).

There is so much produced in our country that is not necessary. Thousands of acres of corn planted to produce high-fructose corn syrup for soda, breakfast cereal and candy. And giant commercial beef and pork farms with enormous manure lagoons and animals living on antibiotics just to keep them from getting sick. (And I doubt any of the "farmers" actually live on these types of *farms).

The small/medium or even *large* farmer - the ones that can actually make a living by being a farmer.....we SHOULD support them. But not these giant corporations who are using our people and resources to make cheap (disgusting) food products.

But I think you're right. "We are using enough resources in our lives a month to keep several families in third world countries alive for a year." That's where I think we have to make choices. We need to cut back our spending/usage, choose our products wisely, and think about the choices we can and should make for the future.

Guilherme
Jan. 6, 2009, 11:01 PM
Not to mention it sounds as though the government is deeply involved in the problem, as well. Very interesting discussion on corn production and today's farmers by Michael Pollan in The Omnivore's Dilemma, and he blames the gov't for most of it. :)

There's an old saying in politics: Don't blame you, don't blame me, blame that fellow behind the tree.

We "baby boomers" have shaped the U.S. in which we live, today, by our demand for ever lower prices and ever increased levels of convienience. And we've passed our bad habits onto our children. When I was a younster back in the '50s about the only frozen food we ever bought was ice cream. Today, well, walk through the frozen food section of your local supermarket (another thing that really didn't exist on a large scale in my youth). You'll find everal aisles filled with bread, meat, veggies, etc. This is not an accident or some evil "corporate plot." It's the "system" responding to demand. :(

And if that doesn't depress you, walk through the aisles and look at the amazing variety of "convienience" foods in single serving containers. These did exist in my youth; they were called "C-Rations" in those days (today they are MREs). For military use they are brilliant; for civilian use they was wasteful beyond imagining.

The hard truth is that we are a tri-polar society. We are told as consumers we must spend like drunken sailors to keep the economy moving. Then we warned of the massive debt that we, as consumers, are carrying and the number of families that live from paycheck to paycheck. Finally, we are told that we must reduce consumption on moral and ethical grounds as we are trashing the Earth. We clearly can't do all three things; even doing two of them is a problem.

And, just to make things really intersting, we're told that the govenment retirement benefits the Baby Boomers have been promised may not be fully available because we've undefunded Social Security for the past fifty years or so.

Is it any wonder we are a sometimes very depressed society????? :cry:

But, again, the hard truth was noted by Pogo a long time ago: We have met the enemy and it is us.

It is us; not evil corporations of rapacious governments or crooked politicos. It is us.

Until we decide we're going to change the system (and put into public office those who will do the job, not just run up multi-Trillion Dollar deficits while looking really good on TV) don't look for for any relief.

Nice thoughts on the New Year, what? :no:

G.

silver2
Jan. 6, 2009, 11:06 PM
I think that instead of taxing cows we should tax children. Say $1000/yr. If you don't pay we take them and put them to work on J Swans' farm.

That would solve a lot of problems :)

Guilherme
Jan. 6, 2009, 11:28 PM
I think that instead of taxing cows we should tax children. Say $1000/yr. If you don't pay we take them and put them to work on J Swans' farm.:)

Or eat them, as Johnathan Swift suggested.

G.

JSwan
Jan. 7, 2009, 07:11 AM
Oh please do. I love children.

They taste delicious. :D



(my place is way too small for lots of kids. We should put them to work on county's farm. He has a real gravel pit and large equipment. Now THAT'S a farm!:winkgrin:)

vineyridge
Jan. 7, 2009, 10:02 AM
Don't get me started. My family has been into cotton farming for four generations now. Back in my grandfather's time, it was crucial to use crop rotation, green manures, and natural (manure/guano) based fertilizers to keep the soil productive. In the 1950's the ag schools started pushing chemical fertilizers and didn't seem to think about loss of organic matter that comes from intensive farming for the same crops year after year. The idea of green manures disappeared because they made cutworm control more difficult. We still rotated soybeans and cotton, and that helped some with fertilizer amounts. Then in the 1970's or so, crop rotation disappeared. We had soybean land and cotton land, and the same crops went on the same land for year after year. With genetically modified crops for insect resistance, that model still exists.

I CANNOT get our current farm tenants, who have been brought up with the factory farming model, to consider any alternatives to intensive chemical use for fertilizers and insect control or to consider crop rotation and fallowing. My horse manure/muck could very easily be put on some of the "sand blow" areas in the fields to help bring back organic content, but they dismiss the idea out of hand. They also dismiss the very idea of cover cropping over the fall/winter. With some cover crops, not only do you get organic matter (which helps enormously with moisture retention, thus cutting down the amount of diesel used for irrigation) but you also get rather hefty amounts of nitrogen.

Until the Ag Schools are less dependent on the Chemical companies for their support, row crop agriculture is going to continue to deplete soil and turn what was once fertile ground into deserts that only produce because they are really sort of like hydroponics.

I was in Germany in February once, and the smell of the manure that German farmers were spreading on their fields was everywhere. From what I understand, tanker cars of liquid manure from the Netherlands are shipped by rail all over Europe to areas that don't produce enough of their own.

Why can't we do that? There are huge amounts of poultry litter and hog farm waste that is perfectly fine fertilizer. Surely there would be a profitable business in converting that stuff into useful field fertilizer.

Artful
Jan. 7, 2009, 03:59 PM
And giant commercial beef and pork farms with enormous manure lagoons and animals living on antibiotics just to keep them from getting sick. (And I doubt any of the "farmers" actually live on these types of *farms).

You have got to be kidding me.
Do you think those animals feed themselves?

poltroon
Jan. 7, 2009, 04:07 PM
You have got to be kidding me.
Do you think those animals feed themselves?

What she means is that the owners of those operations are absentee; the decisionmakers live elsewhere. Hired help - sometimes with a lot of turnover - feed the animals and do the work. They're not farms but factories that happen to make animals.

S1969
Jan. 7, 2009, 04:26 PM
You have got to be kidding me.
Do you think those animals feed themselves?

Of course not. :rolleyes: Maybe we're not talking about the same thing. I'm talking about CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.) People get paid to work there, 24/7, but I doubt many (any?) call places like this their "home".

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3043/2423081435_898f795b8c.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2175/2423822458_7b17c35939.jpg

http://www.epa.gov/region8/water/cafo/feedlot.jpg

http://www.all-creatures.org/hope/gw/images/1425724502_dd090842c1_mast.jpg

Guilherme
Jan. 7, 2009, 04:37 PM
What she means is that the owners of those operations are absentee; the decisionmakers live elsewhere. Hired help - sometimes with a lot of turnover - feed the animals and do the work. They're not farms but factories that happen to make animals.

Why is this a Bad Thing? Or is it?

G.

Artful
Jan. 7, 2009, 05:01 PM
ah--the "owner" is "absentee".
And thus must be a corporation that is faceless, bloated,evil, and exploitive.
Who do you think feeds, clothes, and employs most of us?

I confess to being amused by your story of paying $3.50 a carton for eggs from a farmer who "sells out within an hour and could probably charge more".
Do you really think the average American family can afford that price?
Perhaps you think they are too fat, and shouldn't be eating eggs. Who gets to make that decision?

FWIW, I live in a rural county. Most of my neighbors are farmers. A dear friend and her husband are in the egg business.They are doing everything organic. What a nightmare of regulations and expenses. JSwan has hit that nail right on the head. Oh, and with the tanking economy--since most people can't afford to pay $3.50 doz.---they are losing money.

poltroon
Jan. 7, 2009, 06:05 PM
Originally Posted by poltroon
What she means is that the owners of those operations are absentee; the decisionmakers live elsewhere. Hired help - sometimes with a lot of turnover - feed the animals and do the work. They're not farms but factories that happen to make animals.

Why is this a Bad Thing? Or is it?

G.

It doesn't have to be, but in the cases of the worst CAFOs, they are creating huge pollution problems and stench and creating problems for other people in the watershed and in the immediate vicinity. Not all - but those bad actors are the source for the regulations that then burden all the rest of us. People who live on their premises don't usually foul their own nest.

Of course, there are responsible absentee owners. Naturally, when we can't smell them, we notice them less.

Bluey
Jan. 7, 2009, 06:05 PM
Don't get me started. My family has been into cotton farming for four generations now. Back in my grandfather's time, it was crucial to use crop rotation, green manures, and natural (manure/guano) based fertilizers to keep the soil productive. In the 1950's the ag schools started pushing chemical fertilizers and didn't seem to think about loss of organic matter that comes from intensive farming for the same crops year after year. The idea of green manures disappeared because they made cutworm control more difficult. We still rotated soybeans and cotton, and that helped some with fertilizer amounts. Then in the 1970's or so, crop rotation disappeared. We had soybean land and cotton land, and the same crops went on the same land for year after year. With genetically modified crops for insect resistance, that model still exists.

I CANNOT get our current farm tenants, who have been brought up with the factory farming model, to consider any alternatives to intensive chemical use for fertilizers and insect control or to consider crop rotation and fallowing. My horse manure/muck could very easily be put on some of the "sand blow" areas in the fields to help bring back organic content, but they dismiss the idea out of hand. They also dismiss the very idea of cover cropping over the fall/winter. With some cover crops, not only do you get organic matter (which helps enormously with moisture retention, thus cutting down the amount of diesel used for irrigation) but you also get rather hefty amounts of nitrogen.

Until the Ag Schools are less dependent on the Chemical companies for their support, row crop agriculture is going to continue to deplete soil and turn what was once fertile ground into deserts that only produce because they are really sort of like hydroponics.

I was in Germany in February once, and the smell of the manure that German farmers were spreading on their fields was everywhere. From what I understand, tanker cars of liquid manure from the Netherlands are shipped by rail all over Europe to areas that don't produce enough of their own.

Why can't we do that? There are huge amounts of poultry litter and hog farm waste that is perfectly fine fertilizer. Surely there would be a profitable business in converting that stuff into useful field fertilizer.

Don't know why you can't get your tenants to farm as you want?
We spread manure here in irrigated fields and use cover crops.
There are hauling composted feedlot cattle manure all day long truck after truck around here.
We don't, because we would burn our crops if we fertilize, as we don't have enough moisture to grow those humongous bin breaking yields.
We dryland farm, don't irrigate, so we only get one crop, rotate and lay land fallow part of the year, the only way we have enough moisture to raise one crop a year, if it rains enough.
We don't use any herbicides or insecticides generally, because our crops won't pay for it and use minimum tillage, some years none, if we have any kind of seed bed.

I think that if you want to farm like they do in Germany, you may need to go where the conditions are the same.
Maybe where you are you have other conditions to consider and so you have to farm differently?

S1969
Jan. 7, 2009, 07:34 PM
I confess to being amused by your story of paying $3.50 a carton for eggs from a farmer who "sells out within an hour and could probably charge more". Do you really think the average American family can afford that price? Perhaps you think they are too fat, and shouldn't be eating eggs. Who gets to make that decision?

I'm so quaint, aren't I? Do I think the average family could afford $3.50/doz. eggs? Probably. They might have to give up their SUVs, some of their video games and the gallons and gallons of HCFS sweetened soda and juice. If we had a nation of starving or even just lean people it might be easier to make that argument, but we're not.



FWIW, I live in a rural county. Most of my neighbors are farmers. A dear friend and her husband are in the egg business.They are doing everything organic. What a nightmare of regulations and expenses. JSwan has hit that nail right on the head. Oh, and with the tanking economy--since most people can't afford to pay $3.50 doz.---they are losing money.

I live in a rural county too, grew up in one, my grandparents were a dairy farmers. Not sure what that has to do with anything though. To be honest, I can't tell if you don't think there is a problem, or don't believe there is a solution.

I do think there is a problem, and I believe there has to be a solution simply because I refuse to believe that this is the best we can do with the resources the American people have available to them. So the best I can do is vote with my conscience and with my money. I'll glady pay $3.50 for eggs and skip the soda and McD's for my kids.

Equibrit
Jan. 7, 2009, 07:41 PM
They could have achieved a lot more by not donating billions to Ford, Chrysler and GM.

JSwan
Jan. 7, 2009, 07:51 PM
Equibrit - the government assures me that had they not done so, the entire world would have gone up in flames within hours. And I always believe what the government tells me.

:lol:


I just had two big bowls of navy bean soup for dinner. Will my emanations be taxed as greenhouse gases or subsidized as alternative fuel?

Bluey
Jan. 7, 2009, 07:52 PM
They could have achieved a lot more by not donating billions to Ford, Chrysler and GM.

And thru the financial bail outs to banks to all those people that overextended and want to live in Mc Mansions, when those are beyond their means.

I will repeat, all of us are way overconsuming, including with our horse habits.
Who is to tell someone else what to do with their money, if to spend it in horses, boats, a new house, buying collectibles, going to the movies, or whatever they may spend it on?

To try to pick at farming for not doing enough and hogtie those industries any more than they already are, way overregulating them, when those are one of the few industries that are giving us a truly needed product, seems to go at this ideal of becoming a green society a little bit backwards.;)
The old lets make others cut back, but I want to keep my standard of living as it is.:no:

msrobin
Jan. 7, 2009, 08:14 PM
Just one more reason not to eat cows or pigs.

JSwan
Jan. 8, 2009, 08:42 AM
Not really.

Growing and harvesting plants impacts the environment too. Just as we have gigantic farms, so do we have gigantic monoculture crops.

I see we have another salmonella outbreak affecting 400 people in 42 states. Like the last outbreak, it will probably be traced to one area of the country.

One farm can now spread disease all over the US in a matter of days. It doesn't matter if the product is spinach, tomato or beef.

The farm that produces spinach probably only grows spinach. In order to keep the land productive, more and more fertilizers are needed, and more intensive methods required. More people, more spinach, more fertilizers, more land, more labor required to harvest, more fuel to harvest, more equipment to harvest. more more more.

A sounder traipsing through the crop and depositing fresh manure can result in the death or severe illness of thousands of people. So can an error in processing.

(same with animal products but you get my drift)

There are unseen taxes everywhere. The fart tax makes headlines, but the grower of row crops also has to navigate a complex maze of regulations, laws, and pay taxes upon taxes upon taxes. Taxes on seed, fuel, labor, land, fertilizer, taxes taxes taxes. The regulations on selling produce, just at a local farmers markets, makes IRS tax publications look like a grade school primer. God forbid you want to do something like sell meat or poultry or eggs. Lordy!

These taxes don't hit the consumer - the farmer pays them. It puts more of them out of business. Do you want to grub around in the dirt 14 hours a day only to make a few pennies on the dollar? Because that is the reality of farming on a small scale.

The only business model that works is large scale agriculture. And it is truly driven by consumer demand. The demand for natural and organic foods is high, and now there is large scale agriculture involved in that too. They've taken over those labels.

But the truth is, for example, the outbreak of salmonella (traced back to spinach), was sold under many different brand names, for different prices, and if memory serves, some of it was sold as organic or natural.

It all came from the same place, though.

Farming doesn't need to change. PEOPLE need to change. We need to realize that buying organic strawberries from Mexico in January isn't "green". That living in a 3000sq foot house and driving a hybrid car to buy those strawberries in January isn't "green". Buying fancy rock salt for our horses isn't "green" either.

"Green" means small scale. And people talk a good game but few of us really live a small scale lifestyle. (I'm not saying we need to be Luddites.)

I certainly don't approve of or care for industrial agriculture, but I've also seen that people talk a good game about being "green", and it's become very fashionable to be "green". And still, consumption rises. It's always rising, even in an economic downturn.

More cars, more food, bigger houses, and many folks getting sick of it all and moving to the country - and start complaining about the smells, the tractors, the loose cows, the lack of shopping centers...... and the farms get zoned or harassed out of existence. They can't compete, they can't fight city hall, and the only way to farm becomes the industrial model. Consolidated large scale industrial agriculture.

Remember, 1% of Americans farm. ONE PERCENT is producing the food for over 300 million people. That should scare the snot out of everyone.

S1969
Jan. 8, 2009, 09:54 AM
Farming doesn't need to change. PEOPLE need to change. We need to realize that buying organic strawberries from Mexico in January isn't "green". That living in a 3000sq foot house and driving a hybrid car to buy those strawberries in January isn't "green". Buying fancy rock salt for our horses isn't "green" either.

Remember, 1% of Americans farm. ONE PERCENT is producing the food for over 300 million people. That should scare the snot out of everyone.

Amen. I can't say we'll buy 100% local this year but we're trying hard. We don't need strawberries in January (and they suck, anyway, compared to waiting for early summer strawberries) ;)

And yes, that % scares the snot out of me [and we're importing so much food from other countries [produce anyway]. I'm sure most people don't think about it...........science is great but what if just one of the genetically modified crops fail one year? Talk about a national disaster.

I also agree that the government regulations aren't fixing things; the application of taxes on "bad" crops/animals doesn't really change things, except potentially lesson the huge margin of profits by the giants, and potentially drive the medium farmer out of business. I think [once again, like education], that people see some of the problems and want to try to fix them, but the whole system is so enmeshed in its own bureaucracy that it can't get out of the way.

So what to do. If you think about it very hard it's terribly depressing.

Guilherme
Jan. 8, 2009, 10:07 AM
They could have achieved a lot more by not donating billions to Ford, Chrysler and GM.

The entire world has gone Keynsian simumtaniously. Never before in history has the First and Third world decided to "stimulate" at the same time. The total debt being run up is beyond human comprehension.

There never was a debt that didn't have to be paid. Somehow. We are about to run up a deficit between $1-$2 Trillion in the first year of the incoming administration. Most of the experts I respect say that it will be 2010 (or later) before we see a significant global turnaround, meaning that more money will be thrown at the problem next fiscal year.

The U.S. (and world economies) were saved from the Great Depression by WWII. We are about to really increase our presence in Afghanistan and we may have to fight our way through Pakistan to get there. Maybe that's the war that will save us this time. Or maybe it will just push everything over the cliff. Stay tuned.

G.

vineyridge
Jan. 8, 2009, 10:52 AM
One way we can all help is by buying small Series E (or whatever it's called now) US Savings Bonds as gifts for our children and grandchildren. That's one way the whole country helped to pay for the huge debt from WWII. The government makes it possible for small savers to invest in the US through those tiny bonds.

Guilherme
Jan. 8, 2009, 02:12 PM
One way we can all help is by buying small Series E (or whatever it's called now) US Savings Bonds as gifts for our children and grandchildren. That's one way the whole country helped to pay for the huge debt from WWII. The government makes it possible for small savers to invest in the US through those tiny bonds.

Series E bonds may be a good savings vehicle, but they did not pay off the debt from WWII. It was never paid off, just rolled over. To us.

G.

vineyridge
Jan. 8, 2009, 02:43 PM
Series E bonds may be a good savings vehicle, but they did not pay off the debt from WWII. It was never paid off, just rolled over. To us.

G.

Better that the average American invest in long term American debt than the Chinese. :yes: Especially since we are getting ready to be swamped by American debt. :)

Guilherme
Jan. 8, 2009, 04:38 PM
Better that the average American invest in long term American debt than the Chinese. :yes: Especially since we are getting ready to be swamped by American debt. :)

I agree. But the hard reality is that few Americans have much "spare cash" right now. :(

We are really sailing into "uncharted economic waters" right now. I hope the captain has plan (and it's not "Custer's Plan"). ;)

G.

JSwan
Jan. 9, 2009, 07:42 AM
I'm burying my money in coffee cans in the back yard and letting the rooster guard it.

(note to self, remember to make map showing location of coffee cans.....)


If any of y'all want to lose weight, I know the PERFECT diet plan. Make a big vegetable garden and grow your own food. Raise and tend it, weed it, cultivate, harvest it, spend hours snapping beans, spend hours in the kitchen blanching and canning and freezing and sealing, and then give yourself a pat on the back for all your hard work.

You will be so sick of looking at and smelling food that you will lose your appetite and not want to eat any of it.

I guarantee you'll lose 20 pounds. :D

Boomer
Jan. 9, 2009, 07:59 AM
This isn't surprising - rules made by people who are soooo removed from how their food gets the to table and what producers already have to deal with that they go and make some stupid law up to "regulate" it.

Pretty soon clothes, electronics, cars, and oil won't be the only things coming from overseas - we'll be buying our food from there too. Makes me wonder how much we already import.

Bluey
Jan. 9, 2009, 08:12 AM
Just one more reason not to eat cows or pigs.

Or raise and keep horses purely for our enjoyment, if you really want to be green.:yes:
Only rich countries and the people living in them that have extra resources can have horses, as they use many resources and yes, they too pass gas.;)

Who wants to go first?:eek:

Guilherme
Jan. 9, 2009, 08:41 AM
There is still horse use for work in many areas of the Third World (South and Centreal America, Middle East, South Asia, at a minimum). Most "horse lovers" here would be appalled by their general condition and circumstances of use, but there it is. Is it more "green" to encourage this or more "green" to provide petroleum powered tractors, ATVs, pickups, etc.?

The "greenies" are generally very narrow minded and have fixed agendas. They ignore history and science in pursuit of said agendas.

And the Fourth Estate...well, let's just let that one go for now. ;)

G.

Bluey
Jan. 9, 2009, 08:48 AM
There is still horse use for work in many areas of the Third World (South and Centreal America, Middle East, South Asia, at a minimum). Most "horse lovers" here would be appalled by their general condition and circumstances of use, but there it is. Is it more "green" to encourage this or more "green" to provide petroleum powered tractors, ATVs, pickups, etc.?

The "greenies" are generally very narrow minded and have fixed agendas. They ignore history and science in pursuit of said agendas.

And the Fourth Estate...well, let's just let that one go for now. ;)

G.

You don't have to go there to find horses in use.
Our horses work cattle, we don't have one here that doesn't has good ranch horse skills.
Many ranches have gone to 4 wheelers for much, but there are things you still need horses for.
Feedlots could not function without pen riders checking and pulling cattle every day horseback.
They generally start by shipping at 3-4am, check pens all morning, change horses and check until done, each rider looks after some 5-6 thousand.
Then sort thru sick pens and take some back to home pens.
All that horseback.:yes:

Oh, yes, lets not talk about the Fourth Estate and how they manipulate reality and facts.:eek:

equineartworks
Jan. 9, 2009, 10:42 AM
The issue with the "fart tax" is that it is that it will literally be the final nail in the cofffin for the small to medium farmer who responsibly manages his operation by utilizing pasture rotation, heritage breeds and soil management. They simply do not produce the same waste as the large scale feed lot operation.

Boomer, you said "This isn't surprising - rules made by people who are soooo removed from how their food gets the to table and what producers already have to deal with that they go and make some stupid law up to "regulate" it." So VERY true!

poltroon
Jan. 9, 2009, 12:04 PM
The issue with the "fart tax" is that it is that it will literally be the final nail in the cofffin for the small to medium farmer who responsibly manages his operation by utilizing pasture rotation, heritage breeds and soil management. They simply do not produce the same waste as the large scale feed lot operation.

Boomer, you said "This isn't surprising - rules made by people who are soooo removed from how their food gets the to table and what producers already have to deal with that they go and make some stupid law up to "regulate" it." So VERY true!

Again, if you read my post a while back, this isn't a serious proposal. No one is actually advocating it. EPA is trying to hide behind farmers so they can prevent the states from regulating automakers.

equineartworks
Jan. 9, 2009, 01:00 PM
Again, if you read my post a while back, this isn't a serious proposal. No one is actually advocating it. EPA is trying to hide behind farmers so they can prevent the states from regulating automakers.

In NYS we have to take everything seriously :lol: It will be a law here in less than four years...wanna bet? :lol:

Holly Jeanne
Jan. 9, 2009, 02:30 PM
My neighbor is a third generation farmer on the property surrounding me. I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago and, at 71, he's thinking about giving up and getting out of cattle. So, what happens to the property if he gives up? It will most likely sell for development. That's certainly "green!" :( That and there goes my nice quiet, private livestyle (and his too).

Guilherme
Jan. 9, 2009, 02:53 PM
Again, if you read my post a while back, this isn't a serious proposal. No one is actually advocating it. EPA is trying to hide behind farmers so they can prevent the states from regulating automakers.

This might have been true under the outgoing administration. What about the incoming?

Personally, I never discount an adminstrative agency's ability to work ill, no matter how silly it may sound at first reading.

G.

poltroon
Jan. 9, 2009, 04:08 PM
In NYS we have to take everything seriously :lol: It will be a law here in less than four years...wanna bet? :lol:

Yup, I'll take that bet.

Read the documents I posted. Yes, it would have been appropriate to send a comment. But the EPA is arguing against such a regulation. They wanted, and got, comments saying "this will hurt our nation" precisely because they did not want a regulation of that sort, and they were pretending that the mean old Supreme Court might make them. Hogwash (pun intended :D)

The reason this all came to be was because the EPA took legal action against states that were trying to regulate CO2 emissions from cars. The Bush EPA is trying to claim that they can't regulate cars or allow anyone else to, because then they would have to tax cows.

LearnToFly
Jan. 9, 2009, 05:37 PM
There's an old saying in politics: Don't blame you, don't blame me, blame that fellow behind the tree.

We "baby boomers" have shaped the U.S. in which we live, today, by our demand for ever lower prices and ever increased levels of convienience. And we've passed our bad habits onto our children. When I was a younster back in the '50s about the only frozen food we ever bought was ice cream. Today, well, walk through the frozen food section of your local supermarket (another thing that really didn't exist on a large scale in my youth). You'll find everal aisles filled with bread, meat, veggies, etc. This is not an accident or some evil "corporate plot." It's the "system" responding to demand. :(

And if that doesn't depress you, walk through the aisles and look at the amazing variety of "convienience" foods in single serving containers. These did exist in my youth; they were called "C-Rations" in those days (today they are MREs). For military use they are brilliant; for civilian use they was wasteful beyond imagining.

The hard truth is that we are a tri-polar society. We are told as consumers we must spend like drunken sailors to keep the economy moving. Then we warned of the massive debt that we, as consumers, are carrying and the number of families that live from paycheck to paycheck. Finally, we are told that we must reduce consumption on moral and ethical grounds as we are trashing the Earth. We clearly can't do all three things; even doing two of them is a problem.

And, just to make things really intersting, we're told that the govenment retirement benefits the Baby Boomers have been promised may not be fully available because we've undefunded Social Security for the past fifty years or so.

Is it any wonder we are a sometimes very depressed society????? :cry:

But, again, the hard truth was noted by Pogo a long time ago: We have met the enemy and it is us.

It is us; not evil corporations of rapacious governments or crooked politicos. It is us.

Until we decide we're going to change the system (and put into public office those who will do the job, not just run up multi-Trillion Dollar deficits while looking really good on TV) don't look for for any relief.

Nice thoughts on the New Year, what? :no:

G.

Well said

JSwan
Jan. 9, 2009, 05:54 PM
The reason this all came to be was because the EPA took legal action against states that were trying to regulate CO2 emissions from cars.

poltroon - doesn't California already do that? Regulate emissions. I thought y'all had some extra doodads on your mufflers or exhaust system, and that the requirement was really an old one. Like.... 1980's.

Maybe I'm wrong but since you're a CA resident can you set me straight on that? Thanks.

AZ Native
Jan. 9, 2009, 06:23 PM
Think it's bad now? Wait'll after Jan. 20th!


:lol::lol::lol:


By the way G, great comments.




FWIW, Ford declined the bail out money.

poltroon
Jan. 9, 2009, 07:13 PM
poltroon - doesn't California already do that? Regulate emissions. I thought y'all had some extra doodads on your mufflers or exhaust system, and that the requirement was really an old one. Like.... 1980's.

Maybe I'm wrong but since you're a CA resident can you set me straight on that? Thanks.

Yes we do. Cars sold in California have a much cleaner emission system than in other parts of the country. 15 other states have adopted these standards as they are permitted to do by the Federal Clean Air Act. California has repeatedly tried to make their requirements more stringent, and has been fought not only by the automakers but also the EPA. The last few have been efforts to increase fuel economy.

When I was growing up in California in the 70's and 80's, second stage smog alerts - where the air was visibly yellow and visibility was obviously impaired - were common in the LA area, maybe a dozen a year. Today, any kind of smog alert is uncommon, even though the population and the number of cars and miles driven has increased dramatically.

Here's another link about this fight between California and the automakers + EPA:
http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-fi-emissions26-2008jun26,0,1582283.story

Both Obama and McCain said they would grant the waiver California seeks... and if that had been done in the first place by the Bush administration, the Supreme Court case that caused the EPA to write the Notice that we're talking about would not have happened.

equinelaw
Jan. 9, 2009, 07:50 PM
Yep. That's the story. So many people in CA that if they do it then they just have to make the cars that way for everybody. States have the right to be stricter then Federal regulations, but if CA tries that crap they basically make Federal law. Car makers do not want to make different cars for every state.

CA is a very powerful state. The whole EPA comment thing is just sour grapes because CA kicked their ass. The EPA didn't want those CA tree huggers telling them what to do!

If people are really interested and do not want to read a whole bunch of boring stuff, there are at least 2 videos posted on-line of the lawyers in this case and Duke talking about the cases and the implications. Lawyers from both sides. Horses' mouth, so to speak:)

They are even sometimes funny. One is cute. Its not too painful:winkgrin: