This summer, the EPA issued an “advanced notice of proposed rulemaking” that called for public comments on the idea of regulating GHG emissions. The comment period ended last week but before that farmers were lobbying fiercely against a “cow tax” which would tax them for the methane that livestock emit, New York Times Reports.
Last week, the New York Farm Bureau issued a statement (PDF) saying that such a tax could reach $175 per cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and upwards of $20 per hog. The bureau says the new law may require any operation with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to obtain permits, and would cover more than 90 percent of dairy, beef and hog production in New York.
The Department of Agriculture commented that even small farms and ranches would run up against a proposed 100-ton limit on emissions. DOA says the American agricultural landscape is comprised of 1.9 million farms with an average value of production of about $25,600 on 271 acres and would not be able to bear the regulatory compliance costs that would be involved with the new tax.
Similar livestock taxes were proposed in New Zealand and Estonia but Plenty magazine notes the plans were shelved due to widespread protests.
CattleNetwork recently reported that dairy’s carbon foot print has dropped to 12 pounds per gallon in 2007, from 31 pounds in 1944.
In September, Dairy UK reported that some UK farmers have put their cows on a special diet in order to reduce GHG emissions.
Numerous organizations – including the Energy Trust of Oregon – are finding ways to turn waste into energy. The Environmental Credit Corporation has been involved in a program to install manure lagoon covers.
Last year in California, a commission detailed a report on how dairy farms could reduce emissions.