They're still up in arms over Bryan Walsh's Time cover story that criticized conventional animal ag. And they've asked the federal government to bail out the pig-flesh industry.
Now they want our government to pay them not to till their fields.
The concept: When crops are planted without tilling, the soil holds more carbon, which means less goes up into the atmosphere.Therefore, in theory, farmers will be something to help ease climate change -- ironically something they don't believe is a big deal.
The real reason this plan was proposed is because those in agribusiness oppose the climate-change bill. This measure -- getting paid for doing less work -- may help to get them on board.
But they also get paid to grow crops for ethanol, something they can't do if they don't till.
There's a possible conflict brewing here, though. Federal law and the energy bill encourage farmers to remove crop residue — the remains of the previous season's crop — to make ethanol.Of course, if those in agribusiness actually cared about the environment, they would speak out against animal agribusiness, as that industry accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than the transportation industry. But they won't because animal ag is the biggest purchaser of corn and soybeans.
"That's a no-no," [Rattan Lal, soil scientist at Ohio State University,] says. "The moment you take the crop residue away the benefit of no-till farming on erosion control, water conservation and on carbon sequestration will not be realized."
Also ironic is agribusiness's appeals for aid from the government. The majority of Americans also want the government's help -- in the form of an overhauled healthcare system. But those in Big Ag criticize that plan as (shiver) socialism.
(Image courtesy of The Humane Society of the United States.)