Northam Waters Down Virginia’s Livestock Fencing Plan

[youtube] Northam Administration vs The Chesapeake Bay.

Two disturbing facts were brought to light last week. First, a survey of two agriculture-intense Virginia counties found that the effort to reduce agricultural pollution by fencing off farm streams from cattle is far behind schedule. Second, our supposedly progressive governor put forth a very watered down Watershed Improvement Plan that effectively eliminates the livestock fencing goals in the Commonwealth.

Cows do more than fart and burp. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, raised more than a few eyebrows when her New Green Deal included measures to curb the greenhouse gas effects of farting and burping cows. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez whimsically referenced the emissions of methane and nitrous oxide as digestive byproducts from many farm animals, especially cattle. While these emissions are a legitimate issue, a bovine prescription for Gas-X and Rolaids would not solve the problem. The production of meat in general, and beef in particular, has a sizable negative impact on the environment. Every step in raising, slaughtering, packaging and shipping meat adds to greenhouse gas emissions. Across the globe animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions (14-18%) than transportation (13.5%). However, the environmental impact of animal agriculture doesn’t end with greenhouse gas emissions. A 1400-pound Holstein steer produces 115 pounds of manure per day or about 21 tons per year. Some of this prodigious amount of manure finds its way from cows and steers to farm creeks and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay. The manure contains high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus which cause excess algae growth de-oxygenating the bay’s water. Many consider animal waste the biggest problem confronting the Chesapeake Bay.

The good news. Significantly reducing the impact of beef farming on the Chesapeake Bay is rather straight forward — build fences. Farmers who build fences to keep cattle away from the streams on their property substantially reduce the amount of manure getting into the watershed. Building these fences has been one of the key activities of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup program. Unfortunately, the Daily Press is reporting that Virginia farmers have fallen far short in livestock fencing. Worse yet, the latest Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) put forth by Governor Ralph Northam “waters down” Virginia’s commitment to livestock fencing. Apparently, the governor’s expertise with spreading manure began and ended with his claim that he didn’t know how that racist photograph ended up on his yearbook page.

95 by 2025. The last time Virginia’s WIP was revised was 2012. That plan called for 95% of streams running through farm fields to be fenced by 2025. Recent surveys of farms in Augusta and Rockingham counties show that only 19% of streams in farm fields are fenced today. While two counties don’t tell the story of an entire state, over 200,000 heads of cattle call those counties home. A loose extrapolation of this data would lead one to believe that Virginia is far from achieving its goal of 95% fencing six years from now.

Northam moves tears down the goalposts. The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that advocates for effective enforcement of environmental laws. It was the EIP that measured the fencing in Augusta and Rockingham counties. The EIP has also been closely monitoring the Northam Administration’s proposed changes to the WIP. EIP spokesman Tom Pelton said that if Northam’s watershed plan stands as is, things will go from sobering to worse. A careful reading of the WIP, said Pelton, “eliminates the 95 percent goal of protecting linear feet of streams on farms by 2025 — and replaces it with a newly defined goal that has no deadline, a more limited scope of streams protected and suggests that farmers can do alternative things to ‘exclude’ cattle instead of installing fences.”

Where is the outrage from the left? Virginia’s Democrats are well and widely known for their loud support of liberal causes, especially environmental problems like climate change. Yet here is one of their own — Ralph Northam — tearing up a big piece of Virginia’s commitment to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. Where is the indignation? Where is the righteous outrage? Where are the demands to reinstate the fencing goals in the Virginia Watershed Improvement Plan? The silence from Virginia’s limousine liberals is deafening.

Corrections: The original article claimed that cow flatulence contains methane. An elected official wrote me to say that cows actually burp methane. Since I would never argue with an elected official about hot air emissions, I have corrected the post. Read more here.

— Don Rippert

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23 responses to “Northam Waters Down Virginia’s Livestock Fencing Plan”

  1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Wonderful comment highlighting a great problem typically ignored by big money environmentalists, and their political sycophants. Not enough money and votes in it, I suspect. In any event, farmer’s should keep their cow shit to themselves. Not in our public waters.

    So considered me outraged!

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Same goes for chickens. Not sure about their gas, but we know what the typical chicken otherwise leaves behind that even now, after all the effort, too often still finds its way into public waters.

  2. vaconsumeradvocate Avatar

    You haven’t heard outrage because people don’t know about the situation. It’s not widely reported. Wasn’t the plan just released last week? Folks haven’t had time to read it and figure things out yet.

    I’m concerned about interpretation of the information sources relied on here. The linked reference says that animal agriculture is responsible for 13-18% of human caused global warming, while fossil fuel for energy and transportation is responsible for 64% globally and 80% in the US. Seems we in the US have a real motivation to do something to reduce what we do in energy and transportation and that we can’t just blame the problem on farmers.

    I’ve spent a fair amount of time with cattle in my life and 115 pounds of manure per day per animal is FAR above any reasonable quantity. Please recheck that reference.

    It’s expensive to fence cattle out of water and also requires replacing the water source. That means drilling wells and building watering stations. There are some government programs that help, providing a little support at a time, and the process takes time and labor from other farm tasks. There is a real problem here. Costs are higher than folks can afford – farm incomes are tight and there are many demands. No one is stepping up to provide extra money to fix the backlog and farmers aren’t making enough money to afford to just do it alone. Farmers want clean water, too, and most do everything they can to keep it clean. However, we’ve not found an easy way to pay for the solutions.

    Finally, our problems are not helped by calling other citizens names. Maybe it fires some folks up, probably the wrong ones. Can’t we just have civil conversations?

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      About name calling, there is a season for all things, including name calling.

    2. djrippert Avatar

      This is what I wrote …

      “Across the globe animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions (14-18%) than transportation (13.5%).”

      This is what you wrote ….

      “The linked reference says that animal agriculture is responsible for 13-18% of human caused global warming, while fossil fuel for energy and transportation is responsible for 64% globally and 80% in the US. Seems we in the US have a real motivation to do something to reduce what we do in energy and transportation and that we can’t just blame the problem on farmers.”

      My facts are perfectly accurate. Your attempted refutation switches from global to US and adds energy to transportation. It does nothing to change the fact that on a global basis agriculture generates more greenhouse gases than transportation.

      Here’s the link to the 1,400 pound Holstein and the 115 pounds of manure …

      As an aside it took me less than 30 seconds with a internet search engine to find this source. If you are going to criticize my facts as inaccurate at least put forth the minimal intellectual effort to cite authoritative alternate sources. The fact that you “spent a fair amount of time with cattle” is not authoritative information.

      As for farm incomes … from the Daily Progress article I referenced …

      “In a previous cost-share program, Virginia farmers could sign up between January 2013 and June 2015 for 100 percent funding for streamside fencing.”

      For 2 1/2 years any farmer who fenced off his or her streams could recover 100% of the costs from taxpayers. Any yet only 19% of the streams were fenced off? Can you imagine any other business that would be “let off the hook” for serious pollution when the taxpayers were willing to fund the remediation? What if gas station owners just said “it’s too hard” to keep motor oil out of streams and rivers? Or, “we’re too busy” to care that we’re destroying the environment. Do you think the gas station owners would get any sympathy?

      As far as calling “other citizens” names … I assume you are referring to governor Coonman. I’ll be civil to him when he apologizes to Ed Gillespie for his abhorrent campaign ad insinuating that Gillespie (or his supporters) drove around in pickup trucks stalking immigrants. Because, after all …

      1. It was Northam, not Gillespie, who appeared in blackface.
      2. It was Northam, not Gillespie, who had a picture of a man in blackface on his medical school yearbook page.
      3. It was Northam, not Gillespie, who had a picture of a man in klan robes on his yearbook page.
      4. It was Northam, not Gillespie, who had the nickname “Coonman”.

      In case you forgot the ad run on behalf of governor asshat …

      You may suffer fools gladly. I will not.

      Northam can burn in hell for all I care.

    3. djrippert Avatar

      As an aside … if you think I’m any easier on Republican politicians who aid and abet polluters …

      1. djrippert Avatar

        Or, if you think I only criticize farmers for polluting ….

        Nobody has the right to destroy the environment. I don’t give a damn what occupation you have, I don’t give a damn what political party you follow, I don’t give a damn if you live in an urban, suburban or rural area.

      2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        Today, with those in power in Virginia, what is best for the environment or for anything or anyone else, has NOTHING to do with right policy and results. The only thing that counts is what generates the most money, influence, votes, and private advantage for particular politicians and their supporters.

  3. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Can a cow poop cap, tax and trade scheme be far behind?

    I suspect Consumer Advocate is providing a good example of the pressure on the state from farmers to review all these regulations and focus on the possible and reasonable. She’s a pretty regular reader, so I assume this wasn’t her first exposure to the Full Ripper Treatment (love that last shot)…Where some are fanatics about the atmosphere, yours truly is far more worried about the water quality (yep, CO2 denier here…) so I want to see these rules enforced and the Bay protected. We go full bore on the problems we cannot solve, and then soft pedal the one’s we can…..

  4. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Sorry to interrupt, but terrorists have just destroyed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps it wakes up the Pope to the real world.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Might be construction accident. Too early to know.

  5. Dying laughing

    Since I would never argue with an elected official about hot air emissions, I have corrected the post.

  6. LarrytheG Avatar

    A couple of things.

    This did not all of a sudden happen on Northam’s watch. This has been for decades an issue where the EPA and Chesapeake Bay folks have tried to institute some level of watershed protection from this and the Farm Bureau and Conservatives have generally argued against it – claiming it will increase costs to farmers who will have to pass it on to consumers.

    Which is the same exact argument we have heard about reducing emissions from cars, reducing nitrogen/phosphorous from Human sewage treatment plants.. doing something about the piles of poultry poop in the Valley of Virginia and the Eastern shore – and don’t forget pigs and the infamous “lagoons” their poop is put in that then drains into nearby waterways.

    Oh.. and have we talked about pet poop that washes into parking lots and streets and thence into waterways?

    This is sort of like the argument for building more roads – except people don’t want to pay tolls or taxes nor do they want to pay for the hospital provider tax, etc..

    We simply do not want to pay for this stuff.

    And so – we get folks from the Farm Bureau and their allies to lobby against it – not just with Northam – with ALL of his predecessors also.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      The change of the WIP happened on Northam’s watch – just last week. The Environmental Integrity Project isn’t the Heritage Foundation, Larry. This is a serious left leaning (despite their stated impartiality) environmental group. And they’re right ….

      A careful reading of the WIP, said Pelton, “eliminates the 95 percent goal of protecting linear feet of streams on farms by 2025 — and replaces it with a newly defined goal that has no deadline, a more limited scope of streams protected and suggests that farmers can do alternative things to ‘exclude’ cattle instead of installing fences.”

      That’s totally on the Northam Administration.

      The prior WIP with the stronger fencing requirements was established by the Republican McDonnell Administration. It was supported by the Democratic McAuliffe Administration.

  7. LarrytheG Avatar

    hmm… how do you “water down” a “goal” rather than a mandatory implementation?

    I agree that Northam did reduce the goal – but we were not implementing it to start with – ” Farmers with livestock have been urged for years to voluntarily fence their animals from streams running through their property. It’s considered a best management practice to reduce nutrients, particularly fecal matter, in the watershed to help repair the polluted estuary.”

    were Farmers being forced to fence their pastures and Northam relaxed that rule? Nope.

    This is like a “goal” to get to 50% recycling or 10% “cleaner air” or 24% fewer coal plants, etc. Unless it’s an enforceable law – passed by the General Assembly – it’s not mandatory.

    You will not find a bigger proponent of cleaning up our waterways that I – a person who has personally paddled many if not most of the rivers in Virginia – and have seen first hand the issues but I can tell you that the farms are just part of the problem. The CSOs in places like NoVa as well as older storm ponds that do not hold back anything more than a 2yr storm event – as well as many of Virginia’s wastewater treatment plants -they’re part of the problem and it will take money to fix them.

    If you force farmers – by LAW – not some flabby “goal” to actually fence their properties – the rest of us will pay for it – either through assistance funding from taxpayers or higher prices for food. The farmer will not eat that cost.

    And if you force Va farmers to pay that cost – they will lose to out-of-state farmers who do not have those rules – the same way that chemical plants go to WVA to build plants then put their effluent in the Potomac so it comes back down to Washington. This is the reason why you need an EPA and guess who is NOT protecting water quality these days – the EPA… who are doing Mr. Trumps bidding.

    So basically, what we are doing here is demonizing Northam … tallying up his list of “sins” since blackface, right?

    That’s not so good. He’s no saint – and then some for sure – but he’s no supporter of pollution – either.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      If you have a worthwhile voluntary goal that is not being met you make the goal mandatory, you don’t eliminate the goal.

      As far as “the rest of us paying for it”:

      1. We’re already paying for it. For 2 1/2 years the costs of fencing were 100% recoverable from taxpayers. Today those costs are 80% recoverable. Farming is a business not a religion. Why should practitioners of the business of farming not be required to stop destroying the environment.

      2. Farmers shouldn’t eat the cost of mandatory fencing. They should raise their prices to allow a reasonable return or go into a new line of business. Dealing with these environmental externalities would lead to better consumption choices. You can imagine how much carbon is released in the pumping of water for irrigation. One pound of corn requires 127 gallons of water. One pound of beef requires 1,799 gallons. Beef does more harm to the environment than, say, soybeans. So, why shouldn’t beef producers (and consumers) pay more to abate that damage? You don’t have to fence your streams from soybeans.

      My issues with Northam started the day he ran that horrific ad of people in pick up trucks with Confederate flags chasing down immigrants. That was a complete character assassination of Ed Gillespie. The fact that Northam is now a proven racist (perhaps recovered, perhaps not) only makes his attack on Gillespie worse. Finally, Northam will say anything to take the heat off himself. First, he was one of the people in the racist picture. Then, he wasn’t. Then, he never saw his personal yearbook page. Then, he didn’t know how that picture got on his yearbook page. Then, he didn’t know why he was given the nickname Coonman.

      Here’s a bit of reality for you …

      Northam is being demonized because he deserves to be demonized.

      Here’s what Lowell over at BlueVirginia wrote three days ago …

      “But the question right now isn’t whether Northam’s going to resign, because clearly he is not, but whether Virginia Democrats should a) welcome Northam back with open arms; b) keep a cool distance from him; c) completely disown the guy; d) other. Personally, I’m leaning towards option “c,” both for moral and political reasons.”

      Now if Lowell is willing to disown this guy you can only imagine how I feel.

      Northam should have done the honorable thing and resigned when that picture, that nickname and that admission of appearing in blackface came out. Instead, he tried to lie his way out of trouble.

      As I said, you can suffer fools gladly. I will not.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        I’m sorta with you – with some objections.

        Whether we’re talking about farmers and fences or city dwellers and CSOs or poultry operations – it’s all the same – a balance between zero pollution and the cost.

        And there are realities, for instance, you can fence the actual waterway but how about the swales which are in some respects worse than livestock in the water.

        And we have equity issues. Why should the farmers be forced to fence if Alexandria puts off their CSO and the poultry folks still don’t know what to do with poultry poop other than pile it up and wait for rain ? Go visit the poultry operations on the Eastern shore and you might wonder if that’s more an issue than cattle in pastures.

        Next time you’re in the grocery – visit the meat dept and see the different kinds – beef, pork and poultry – all 3 have impacts to the environment.

        All of this is really separate from Northam. The livestock pollution issues have been going on for some time across the country – it’s a big problem and hard to solve and did not start with Northam and he will not end it and for what it is worth – he’s not going cave to the Green folks… and shouldn’t.

        On the blackface side – it’s an unforgivable sin to some and just as potent as the abortion issue but apparently he’s not leaving – at least just yet. It’s pretty bad that he is avoiding commencements and fundraisers for Dems and in the end he may be such damaged goods that he could help turn the GA back over to the GOP.

        but the blackface is separate from the pollution issue in my mind.

  8. I think there’s an opening here for a vendor of bovine diapers. Get the rule requiring streams to be fenced off amended to allow for a diapered-cow exception. It’s the only fitting way to allow this problem to be papered over.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      gawd.. the puns… oh the horror! You can fence off the critters but as you know, being a paddler, poop from cattle, pigs and poultry – more often than not – get piled up on the land or in lagoons and the rains bring it down to the water. Cattle poop anywhere and everywhere in a pasture and the rains take it down through the swales and rivulets and into the streams. All we’re doing with fencing is keeping the poop temporarily uphill of the water – with some hope that some of it might decompose before it washes down.

      Hells Bells – the same thing happens to human poop. We extract the “solids” at the wastewater treatment plant and then do what with it? Well – we change the name to “biosolid” and then we spread it on farms fields – and it “soaks in” unless the rains come. We have hundreds of acres in Spotsylvania which spreads Blue Plains poop.

      Its a BIG PROBLEM all the way around. The blame game is LAME because in the end – it’s not about the critters – it’s about humans that eat the critters who then blame the folks who raise the critters for the poop! These are the same folks who have dogs that poop and spread fertilizer on their laws that runoff also.

      I’m not fatalistic here at all but rather honestly pragmatic – because if we really are going to deal with these issues instead of playing blame games – it’s going to cost us all – we’re going to pay more – and we should but if we ARE going to do that – mandate these things – it’s not going to come by fiat from a Gov who does blackface (or not) – it will have to come from the GA and Congress – you know – all that rot about representative govt… and to this point in time – there are not enough votes in the GA nor Congress to create laws that mandate these things – so we talk about “goals” instead amid the clamor from those on high horses!

  9. LarrytheG Avatar

    To give some fair context to the claim that Northam is “weakening” pollution rules………….

    ” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam proposes millions to help farmers and cities stop bay pollution” note the date ( Dec 12, 2018)

    ” Virginia’s governor wants to use some of the surplus revenue expected next year to prevent polluted water runoff around farms and urban areas.

    He proposed dedicating $90 million each year starting in fiscal 2020 to a cost-sharing program to help farmers make their properties more environmentally friendly and a one-time $50 million deposit into the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund. The plans require General Assembly approval.”

    So Northam proposed millions of dollars to deal with this very issue. Guess what happened to that proposal and who opposed it?

    Where was the Environmental Integrity Project – THEN?

    COAL ASH: ” Gov. Northam proposes coal ash disposal, coastal protection bills

    Gov. Ralph Northam has proposed a package of environmental legislation aimed at safely disposing of coal ash, helping coastal communities deal with flooding caused by climate change and continuing the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay.

    NOTE AGAIN – who DID oppose this but failed in trying to stop it? Honest question: WHERE was the EIG then? Did they NAME those who opposed?

    The legislative agenda unveiled Thursday includes the Coastal Protection Act. The law would allow the state to use an estimated $50 million in revenue from the sale of carbon pollution credits for coastal resilience projects. It also would dedicate funds for economic transition for coal communities.

    The Water Quality and Safety Act would require all coal ash to be removed from unlined pits and either recycled or moved to EPA-approved landfills.

    Another bill would make it easier for rural communities to access matching grants to reduce polluted runoff from roads and parking lots.”

    Next – RGGI

    It’s called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and Virginia utilities are linking to it at the behest of Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam. The big idea is to boost investments in renewable energy.
    In Virginia, it’s up to the Legislature to decide where those auction revenues are spent. Many conservation groups are hoping dollars are dedicated to funding an executive order from Northam to address sea level rise.”


    So, no Northam does not have a 100% “Green” record but the claim that he’s weak on the environment and the Chesapeake Bay cleanup is just not true.

    So it needs to be asked what is this attack REALLY about?

    The environmental movement is not ONE group and NOT just “liberals”. There is wide diversity in environmental groups that range from organizations that actually have Conservatives in them to far left groups who are never satisfied no matter what. You gotta ask WHO does EIP support if not Northam?

    This particular group – The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) ?

    Who are they? Are they involved in other environmental issues in Virginia? Have they given credit to Northam for the coal ash and RGGI and proposing money (and rejected by the GA) to fund farmers and cities in the Bay cleanup?

    So, I just have to ask – what is this attack on Northam really about – because he’s clearly not perfect on the Bay Cleanup and the environment but I’d question who is doing a better job – past or present in Virginia.

    I know that DJ and many others have contempt for the hypocrisy shown by Northam – both blackface and abortion and worthy of condemnation but on the environment in Virginia? Name me the others in the political arena in Virginia who are better…. If you had to choose who you’d rather have to be Gov that would be stronger than Northam on the environment – who would that be?

    It’s just plain bogus to attack him on his environmental record. Can he do better? Yes – but name who has done better.

  10. LarrytheG Avatar

    and this: ” My issues with Northam started the day he ran that horrific ad of people in pick up trucks with Confederate flags chasing down immigrants. That was a complete character assassination of Ed Gillespie.”

    It’s sorta like you did not see the Gillespie Ads BEFORE Northam ran his:

    ” Ed Gillespie Is Sad He Was Forced to Run Racist Ads in Virginia’s Governor’s Race”

    In his first interview (with David Axelrod) after losing to Northam, Gillespie was asked about the nasty ads, and you’d have thought he had nothing to do with them:

    “Are those the issues I would have chosen to run on as opposed to the tax cuts and frankly even the criminal justice reform innovative proposals I put forward?” said Gillespie. “That’s what I’d rather the race had been about, but those weren’t what was indicating was going to move numbers and help me win.”

    …… first and arguably worst of these ads, which suggested that Northam was in cahoots with the Latino MS-13 gang, whose alleged “Kill, Rape, Control” slogan superimposed on images of gang members was injected into Virginia’s political bloodstream like a virus. Right there at the end appeared the legally required disclosure: “I’m Ed Gillespie, candidate for governor, and I sponsored this ad for a safer, stronger Virginia.”

    ” Gillespie defends campaign’s focus on immigration, Confederate statues”

    Gillespie went on to note differences between himself and his opponent, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D), on “sanctuary cities” and the restoration of felon voting rights. And he pointed to the controversial pro-Northam ad run by the Latino Victory Fund, which depicts a Gillespie supporter driving a Confederate flag-adorned pickup truck terrorizing minority children, to tar Democratic attacks as “smears.”

    “[The ad] basically portrayed my supporters and millions of Virginians across the Commonwealth of Virginia as evil,” he said.

    “I don’t believe the other side is evil, I think they are wrong, we have a difference of opinion. That ad was not just an attack on my supporters, that ad was an attack on all good, decent, hardworking Virginians who want to have an honest and civil debate about the issues we face as a commonwealth.”

    Earlier Tuesday, Northam told The Hill that while he agreed with the Latino Victory Fund’s decision to take down the ad, it was a “response” to Gillespie’s “fear-mongering.”

    You’d have to be living under a rock to have not seen the Gillespie Ads on race and immigration – the basic Trump agenda and Northam DID respond. Northam did not run his ADs first – he only ran ADs AFTER Gillespie started doing dog whistles to the base that elected Trump.

    The only problem is that in Virginia – there are not enough Trump voters to win Governor or Senate… but yes it does elect Congressmen from RoVa.

    But to claim that Northam ran Ads FIRST – accusing Gillespie of racism is not dealing with the truth of the matter in my view. Gillespie was all in on the race and immigration issues long before the Northam Ads ran in response.

    Let’s be fair here and admit the truth. Neither side covered themselves in Glory but Northam did NOT start the mud fight – he responded.

  11. I might be a little too late to add to this discussion, but here goes.

    The NRCS program for livestock fencing has been very effective, especially to prevent contamination of waterways. It’s just not well known and farmers are often reluctant to have someone tell them what to do especially since they now have to pay 20%. The program always required farmers to pay, then get reimbursed for most or all of the costs.

    Our industrial method of raising livestock also contributes to the problem. Feeding ruminants grain, such as corn, disrupts their digestive system turning it from an alkaline environment into an acidic one. This greatly increases the release of methane, from both ends. And requires large doses of antibiotics to keep animals alive until slaughter because they are eating an unnatural food. Over 80% of the antibiotics used in the US are for livestock use.; contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The wrong kind of e coli thrive in acidic environments, leading to human health consequences.

    Raising beef cattle on their natural food – grass, has dramatic health benefits for the cattle and the humans who eat them. Rotational grazing, where cattle trample the uneaten high grass with the deposited urine and manure, actually sequesters carbon instead of releasing it. It also increases the quality of the soil and reduces runoff.

    Riparian buffers on fields and fencing access to local ponds and streams would greatly improve our water quality. We should find better ways to encourage it.

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