Where do you stand on the issue of climate change?

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Where do you stand on the issue of climate change?  The issue has been at the forefront of discussions for several years, and was initially met with great doubt by much of agriculture.  Are you part of that contingent, or are you someone who strongly believes the climate is changing, or are you still open to being convinced one way or the other?  USDA on June 3 announced a new departmental regulation on “climate change adaptation,” and then announced a series of grants designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in half the country, which are being blamed for contributing to climate change.

The USDA’s new departmental regulation was issued by the Secretary of Agriculture to “assist USDA in identifying how climate change is likely to affect its ability to achieve mission, operations, policy, and program objectives.”  The policy preamble adds, “The effects of climate change are complex and far-reaching, and while the scope, severity, and pace of future climate change impacts are difficult to predict, it is clear that potential changes could have important impacts on the ability of USDA to fulfill its core mission.”  The regulation will dovetail with USDA’s strategic plan along with the work by two other organizations.  It is designed to: 

• identify how climate change is likely to affect its ability to achieve USDA mission, operations, and policy and program objectives;
• analyze Departmental vulnerabilities to climate change;
• consider potential climate change impacts when undertaking long-term planning exercises, setting priorities for scientific research and investigations, and making decisions affecting agency resources, programs, and operations;
• prioritize actions; and
• develop and maintain an adaptation plan for managing the challenges and taking advantage of any opportunities afforded by climate change.

Following the announcement of the new policy, the USDA announced that it was granting $7.4 million to fund 9 large greenhouse gas mitigation programs in 24 states through the Conservation Innovation Grants administered by NRCS, and an additional $10 million for the EQIP program to implement practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The programs will be applied in 24 states, some of them to Cornbelt states.  Those include:

Bringing Greenhouse Gas Benefits to Market: Nutrient Management for Nitrous Oxide Reductions (Illinois, Michigan, Oklahoma) – $400,000 to the Delta Institute and its partners to create a system that allows producers to earn greenhouse gas credits for their nutrient management and conservation practices on at least 60,000 acres.

Dairy Farm Stewardship Toolkit (California, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin) – $1.102 million to the Dairy Science Institute, Inc. to work with dairy farmers across 12 states to develop a decision support tool that helps those farmers enhance their conservation efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.

Ducks Unlimited Avoided Grassland Conversion Carbon Project (North Dakota, South Dakota) – $161,000 to Ducks Unlimited, Inc. to develop tools for grassland producers to help them monetize the carbon storage benefit of retaining rangeland that may otherwise be converted to cropland on 10,000 acres in North Dakota and 15,000 acres in South Dakota.

Piloting Innovative Beef and Dairy Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Strategies in U.S. Feedlots and Dairies (Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin) – $1.056 million to Unison Resource Co. to pilot test methodologies that qualify carbon offsets and that stimulate feed use efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, monetize carbon credits, and enhance economic viability in the beef and dairy industries.

Smart Nitrogen Application Program Demonstration Program Project (Iowa, Illinois) – $1.429 million with The Fertilizer Institute to develop a framework for delivering marketable carbon credits associated with Nitrous Oxide emission reduction when producers implement nutrient stewardship management practices on approximately 50,000 acres.

Are these projects relevant to your farm business and your family?  Are these projects a waste of money, which could be better applied in other areas of the USDA budget?  What is behind this new policy and what is driving this.  Your thoughts would be valuable and welcome regardless of your position.

USDA has implemented a new departmental regulation that is designed to incorporate climate change into its strategic planning and the work it is doing with outside agencies.  As a result, USDA has issued grants to several organizations that will conduct research in 24 states, many of them Cornbelt states, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, believe to be responsible for climate change.  Readers are encouraged to submit their thoughts about the new USDA regulation and the grants.

Source: Farmgateblog.com

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ny  |  June, 13, 2011 at 09:40 AM

yes the climate is changing it has for four billion years and will always change man made????? bull s

Earnest Crist    
Oklahoma  |  June, 13, 2011 at 10:13 AM

We need to do something--I love the comment "climate has been changing forever but mam has nothing to do with it." it's Like erosion-- it always is happening but man speeds up the process with his actions, just like with soil erosion

Redford, MI  |  June, 13, 2011 at 10:14 AM

If science and truth were valued in our society above popular opinion, people would have no trouble seeing through the political agenda of anthropogenic climate change, which is nothing short of genocide. Check out this video for a more truthful investigation of the role of solar and galactic cycles in determining climate change on the Earth: http://www.larouchepac.com/galactic-question

Texas  |  June, 13, 2011 at 11:17 AM

It could be pretty easy when it comes to fertilizer. It is not that hard to convert to Organic Fertilizer...... With the technology used by a company called Converted Organics and the organic fertilizer they are able to produce, a City or State could set up a Converted Organics’ processing plant at every major city landfill and produce enough high quality fertilizer to help solve this problem as well as help reduce the amount of food waste that goes into landfills. The Converted Organics process can produces a liquid fertilizer from food waste in less then week. and per their customers testimonials, the product is working great. And since the majority of the nitrogen run off is produce by farms and golf courses, they both use a lot of liquid fertilizers. And what is pretty cool about this, if the Cities or States were to put these fertilizer plants into operation, this could be a valuable source of income/carbon credits for them. It would be like a WIN WIN WIN I am not affiliated with this company, just thinking that someone might want to look into this as part of a solution.

Oregon  |  June, 13, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Good point, Earnest. The thing that's relevant about past change is that we know the climate can be destabilized. Too much carbon is a bad thing for the atmosphere. Farmers and ranchers are smart people and should get ahead of the curve on this, since ag could be impacted the most. Most of these solutions improve operation efficiency and save money, so it's a good opportunity. I think the USDA is doing the right thing.

U.S.  |  June, 13, 2011 at 06:50 PM

According to the National Acadamy of Sciences in 2011: Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. Emissions continue to increase, which will result in further change and greater risks. Responding to these risks is a crucial challenge facing the United States and the world today and for many decades to come. http://americasclimatechoices.org/ACC_Final_Report_Brief04.pdf

June, 14, 2011 at 01:00 AM

The climate is changing, and humans are to blame for most of it though its emissions of greenhouse gases. Its high time we do something about it, before it really gets dangerous.

Texas  |  June, 16, 2011 at 04:35 PM

Those who read National Geographic know from the pictures of the polar ice cap over the last 10 years that it is shrinking and that is strong evidence of a warming trend. Why else would it shrink? Most reputable scientists think that we are speeding up nature's warming cycle. It's good to know that USDA is not ignoring the warning signs and is doing some long range strategic planning.

VA  |  June, 18, 2011 at 03:01 PM

I respect the conclusions of ninety-some percent of the world's climate scientists that CO2 emissions are causing potentially catastrophic climate change. Most of the deniers are funded by the enormous fossil fuel lobby.

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