Monday, January 05, 2009

Bad News for Smallholder?

As semi-regular readers of this blog will recall, my good friend and neighbor, the humble manure-splattered Smallholder, owns and operates a small farm. His pastured animals produce meat and eggs far superior to anything one may find in even the finest grocery store or butcher shop.

So it is with some annoyance, but no surprise, that I read that the EPA will likely push for a "cow fart tax." Jeff Poor at the Business and Media Institute writes the dairy cow per head tax could be $175; beef cattle could be taxed at $87.50 per head. There will be taxes on other animals, but cattle are the major culprits as far as the eco-nazis are concerned.

The greenie weenies say that speculation of a possible future tax is premature. Not so, says a Farm Bureau spokesman:
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.

All because of the fuzzy science of GlobalClimateChange that allows the EPA to classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant. I am loath to remind you, dear reader, but CO2 is a by-product of breathing. All animals make CO2, and plants use CO2 to create food for their own growth by photosynthesis. This is grade school stuff that even my six-year-old son understands.

But wait, you say. Is this not just paranoia? Read a little more from the article. Jeff Poor quotes a statement from the Department of Agriculture:
“If GHG [greenhouse gas] 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.”

Who will stand in the way of the regulators when the threshold becomes 25 heads of cattle? Or 10? Or 1? The big boys would like nothing better than to put small-scale local farmers out of business.

Smallholder, we may not see eye to eye on many issues, but I got your back on this one.

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