LETTER: Trapping methane as bioenergy has advantages for farmers, ranchers

Monday, June 1, 2009 | 12:02 p.m. CDT; updated 5:45 p.m. CDT, Monday, June 1, 2009

Before the 2008 elections, there was a lot of talk about taxing cow burps.

It was just talk then, and it’s still just talk today.

Manure lagoons and concentrated animal confinements are a different story, but even they could benefit from carbon credits for trapping methane as bioenergy.

That’s a real possibility.

Cap and trade doesn’t refer to capping manure lagoons. Cap and trade makes industry cleaner while allowing our farmers the chance to participate through carbon credits. Under cap and trade, carbon-dioxide-emitting industries buy carbon credits through carbon exchange, and farmers are paid for carbon in their fields of no-till corn and soybeans, pastures or timberland.

Farmers who do no-till are conserving 1,000 pounds of carbon per acre. Pasture and land enrolled in conservation programs can do even more, and timberland can sequester a ton of carbon on every acre. It’s not a pipe dream. Many members of Missouri Farmer’s Union have already enrolled and collected carbon payments just as I have.

Big business doesn’t like cap and trade because it makes them clean up or pay up. Farmers Union has worked to maintain farmers' rights to sell carbon stored on our farms, big and small, just like we’re opposing National Animal Identification System and mandatory animal identification.

Mandatory animal ID is bad for Missouri farms. It could cost the average beef producer up to $40 per head. It could cost 50 cents for a farmer to ID just one chicken. If you are concerned about taxing a cow belch, you should come to the NAIS listening session in Jefferson City on June 9 and join Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fundand Missouri Farmers Union in opposing animal ID.  

Because any attempt to tax your cows would begin with mandatory animal ID and NAIS.




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