Anyone remember when Democratic U.S. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thought it would be a good idea to declare war on farmers and ranchers throughout the country?
In case you don’t, AOC began the conflict by launching a feeble attempt at an artillery barrage — a FAQ regarding her signature legislative proposal, the rightfully maligned Green New Deal.
In the document, AOC, along with Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey, pleaded for legislators to “set a goal to get to net-zero [carbon emissions], rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast,” according to the New York Post.
Yes. Farting cows. According to the original document, climate change is going to kill us all because of farting cows.
AOC’s office later claimed the inclusion of cow farts was an error in a leaked early draft, but AOC doubled down on her comments when she told Showtime’s Desus & Mero that “we need to take a look at factory farming.”
AOC has spent most of her life in the New York City metro area. Has she ever had a substantive conversation with a farmer or rancher — especially a conservative one — from America’s heartland?
Based on the Green New Deal, it seems as if the answer probably is no, but that also means AOC was naive enough to not expect a scientific response.
Such a response appears to have finally arrived.
Ermias Kebreab, professor and Sesnon Endowed Chair of the Department of Animal Science at the University of California-Davis — with the help of Ph.D. graduate student Breanna Roque — on March 17 published a study in the journal PLOS ONE finding that adding even a small amount of seaweed to cattle feed could reduce the cows’ methane emissions by as much as 82 percent.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and, according to the study, greenhouse gases are a major cause of climate change. Agriculture is responsible for 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States; half of those emissions emanate from “cows and other ruminant animals that belch methane and other gases throughout the day as they digest forages like grass and hay.”
According to Kebreab, “We now have sound evidence that seaweed in cattle diet is effective at reducing greenhouse gases and that the efficacy does not diminish over time.”
Roque added that “this could help farmers sustainably produce the beef and dairy products we need to feed the world.”
Even more promising is that seaweed isn’t particularly difficult to cultivate. The Buckminster Fuller Institute explained the mechanics of seaweed farming, using a non-profit, GreenWatch, as an example.
“The infrastructure is simple,” the think tank said. “Seaweed, scallops and mussels grow on floating ropes, stacked above oyster and clam cages below. From these crops ocean farmers can produce food, fertilizers, animal feeds, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, biofuels and much more.”
All in all, this is fantastic news for farmers, and another sign of the effectiveness of the free market.
This innovation in agriculture didn’t need AOC’s ideal big government, or any kind of dramatic restructuring of the economy.
Instead, individuals voluntarily invested in research that could make a big difference. If this truly is as important an advancement as it seems, producers and consumers alike will seek it in the open market.
This is excellent news for farmers as well. They wouldn’t even have to switch their feed if they choose to make this change — they only would need to supplement their current feed with a small amount of seaweed.
Furthermore, the pontifications of radical vegans and the progressive left could be shoved to an isolated corner of the room. They no longer can claim — however falsely — that those of us who enjoy steak, brisket and burgers are contributing to the destruction of the planet.
Once again, hard-working American farmers appear to have a victory in hand, with AOC suffering another defeat.
I think I’ll have some barbacoa to celebrate.
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