Report 4-20-21

Cattle are are often cast as villains in global warming, said to produce about 78% of total livestock emissions. But a research team, led by Colorado State University and funded by the Climate and Land Use Alliance, found that growing bigger cows at a faster rate and increasing soil and plant carbon sequestration on grazed lands could reduce emissions by as much as 50% in the U.S. and Brazil. The study, “Reducing Climate Impacts of Beef Production: A synthesis of life cycle assessments across management systems and global regions,” was recently published in the journal, Global Change Biology. The research team found that using carbon sequestration management strategies on grazed lands, including organic soil amendments and restoring trees and perennial vegetation to areas of degraded forests, woodlands and riverbanks produced a 46% reduction in GHG emissions. This study appears to point out that emissions from cattle are more a problem husbandry, not that cattle are inherently more prone to emitting GHGs than other livestock.

President Biden’s plan to make American agriculture the first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases may depend on the decades old Conservation Reserve Program to help achieve that goal, according to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilscak . The CRP was created in 1985, during the agricultural recession, to cut the number of acres used for crop production, while reducing soil erosion, protecting water quality, and enhancing wildlife habitat on marginal farm land. Landowners are paid rent to idle crop land for 10 to 15 years. Enrollment in the CRP peaked at almost 37 million acres in 2007, but has declined to less than 21 million acres today, as rental rates have been reduced and crop prices have rebounded. However, Vilsack indicated that the USDA was going to create greater opportunities in CRP than before, and that he would soon determine how many acres of land the program might idle.

Automobile manufacturing isn’t the only industry in the U.S. that is suffering from the lack of microchips, steel, plastics and tires needed to keep production lines running. Farm equipment companies like AGCO, John Deere, Case IH and New Holland are all scrambling to find materials they need to meet demand for new agricultural iron. AGCO is reportedly telling U.S. customers that they may have to wait for up to six months for machinery they’ve ordered, which may be too late for producers to utilize in this fall’s U.S. corn and soybean harvest.

Pecan trees are native to North America, and April is National Pecan Month. Growers contend that these nuts are not only good, but are good for you. They cite USDA research indicating that pecans are the most antioxidant-rich tree nut, and they rank in the top 20 in antioxidant capacity per typical serving size among the 277 foods analyzed in the study. The United States is the world’s largest producer of pecans, amounting to about 300 million pounds annually, and in 2020, Arizona growers harvested pecans worth over $50 million, while New Mexico producers sold over $108 and a half million of the popular nuts.

American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie said, “The older I get, the less I listen to what people say and the more I look at what they do.”

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