Cow Fart Regulation Passed Into California Law

Categories: On The Farm, News, Homesteading, Green

This is no joke folks, yesterday Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill (SB 1383) that requires the state to cut methane emissions from dairy cows and other animals by 40% by 2030.  The bill is yet another massive blow to the agricultural industry in the state of California that has already suffered from the Governor's passage of a $15 minimum wage and a recent bill that makes California literally the only state in the entire country to provide overtime pay to seasonal agricultural workers after working 40 hours per week or 8 hours per day (see "California Just Passed A $1.7 Billion Tax On The Whole Country That No One Noticed").

According to a statement from Western United Dairymen CEO, Anja Raudabaugh, California's Air Resources Board wants to regulate animal methane emissions even though it admits there is no known method for achieving the the type of reduction sought by SB 1383.  

"The California Air Resources Board wants to regulate cow emissions, even though its Short-Lived Climate Pollutant(SLCP) reduction strategy acknowledges that there’s no known way to achieve this reduction except to leave the State.

Among other things, compliance with the bill will likely require California dairies to install "methane digesters" that convert the organic matter in manure into methane that can then be converted to energy for on-farm or off-farm consumption.  Methane digesters are expensive, and this move will likely drive the cost of milk upwards in the U.S.

This is what the Associated Press had to say about it:

"Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that regulates emissions from dairy cows and landfills for the first time as California broadens its efforts to fight climate change beyond carbon-based greenhouse gases.

Brown’s move Monday targets a category of gases known as short-lived climate pollutants, which have an outsize effect on global warming despite their relatively short life in the atmosphere.

Environmentalists hope that tackling short-lived pollutants such as methane now would buy time to develop new and more affordable technology to reduce carbon emissions.

The legislation lays out steep reductions in a variety of pollutants, including methane. It’s tied to $90 million in funding for the dairy industry and garbage collectors.

Republicans say the regulations will hurt agricultural businesses, despite concessions made to dairy farmers."

Diet Always Matters, and there may be a solution:  

In spite of the fact that SLCP doesn't know how to achieve this, the smarties at Group Danone of France (owners of Dannon and Stonyfield Farm) figured out that—surprise!—corn and soy are not healthy feeds for ruminant animals like cows—even when organically grown.

Rather, feeding cows a natural, polycultural diet of Omega-3-rich grasses, forbs, flax seed and alfalfa—which is what they were born to eat anyway—restores the internal ecology of the cow’s digestive rumen, which in turn considerably reduces the amount of greenhouse gases they belch and fart, er, emit.

As an added benefit, the “new” diet gives the cows shinier coats, fewer foot problems and no stomach ailments. And when the cows are out grazing on grass in the pasture or on steep hillsides that can’t be farmed, farm feed and vet bills go down, and less pollution is created in growing and transporting feed crops. (Imagine that!)

Plus the act of simultaneously grazing and manuring the pasture builds topsoil and sequesters carbon from the air, overall reducing greenhouse gases and helping to solve climate change. 

And to top it all off, the milk from pasture-fed cows is appreciably more nutritious, has significantly less bacteria, and is less allergenic.

sources:  Small Footprint Family  SanFranciscoCBS

  Page Turn  

Related articles in On The Farm