Friday, April 24, 2015

Oh the irony, Episode #1,455: Quit farming the way we pay you to farm!

Our benevolent overlords in Washington, D.C. have turned their keen intuition to a new frontier in the fight against global warming climate change, our nation's agricultural system.
Federal agricultural officials announced Thursday voluntary programs and initiatives for farmers, ranchers and foresters meant to build on President Barack Obama's efforts to combat global warming — and they don't require congressional approval.
Gotta love the sweeping new powers that our President has granted himself. No Congressional approval needed. How long until "No Congress needed at all" is the law of the land? So how exactly are we going to conquer "climate change" via "voluntary" cutbacks to carbon emissions? Easy!
Specific actions include reducing the unnecessary use of fertilizer and methane emissions from cattle and swine, reforesting areas damaged by wildfire and disease and encouraging tree planting in urban areas. For methane reduction in particular, the federal program promotes installing more anaerobic digesters, which use naturally occurring bacteria to break down organic waste to produce biogas, a fuel similar to natural gas.
Oh the irony....

Our government subsidizes in every way the system of agriculture that demands huge machinery, confinement operations, massive chemical application, burning of enormous amounts of fossil fuels, going to war to keep that fuel "cheap", etc. and then wants those same farmers to "reduce emissions" to combat the mythical "climate change". Only in America does that inherent contradiction not seem apparent to any and all. People will mostly do what they have an incentive to do so if you provide an incentive to farm that way and disincentives to farm any other way (like armed raids on those who sell "raw milk").

Thanks to the "get big or get out" mentality, our farms have gotten bigger and bigger with each passing year. Our land grant universities put out a largely monolithic message that reinforces this because they are subsidized by the big agribusiness firms that profit from the industrial farming system. Our government pays farmers and subsidizes them in various ways that make it almost impossible to not have giant machinery that spew carbon, compact the soil and require massive doses of chemicals. The same is true of animal husbandry that makes it incredibly difficult to raise livestock profitably unless you accept the industrialized, subsidized system which requires you to cram more and more livestock into your facility which in turn concentrates methane, creates mountains or lakes of manure that need to be disposed of, requires unhealthy doses of antibiotics and depends entirely on cheap feed grains which in turn require....huge, carbon emission spewing tractors. We are paying people to do the very thing that we want them to do less of. America, what a country!

Stuff like this is why I appreciate writers like Joel Salatin, Wendell Berry, Gene Logsdon and David Kline. Rather than hipsters who want to farm so they can have a beard and be groovy, these are guys who are actually farming the way it can and should be done. I am under no illusion that a substantial portion of the population is going to start 20-30 acre farms, I mean seriously, we can't get a lot of people to even get a job and those that do want an exorbitant hourly wage for unskilled work. But if we can get more people to start farming like this it will certainly help to stem a small part of the tide and perhaps even avoid the seemingly inevitable food catastrophe that I see in our future.

It just kills me that the government says and does stuff like this and no one even sees how dumb it is.

1 comment:

Aussie John said...


Dumb and dangerous!