AFBF: People should know progress ag is making to the environment


The Farm Bureau Vice President testified before a Senate committee in support of the Livestock Regulatory Protection Act.
Scott Vanderwal, a farmer himself, had a specific goal when educating the panel about farming, and the environment.

Vanderwal says while speaking at the Environment and Public Works Committee, his main goal was to make them understand the progress agriculture has made for the environment.

“American agriculture accounts for approximately 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. That’s far less than transportation, electricity generation, and other industry sectors. Farmers continue to produce more food, fiber, and energy, more efficiently than ever before. Over two generations, we’ve nearly tripled our productivity without using more resources,” said Vanderwal.

The legislation would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating agriculture based on greenhouse gas emissions.

“Like I said, innovation plays an important role from methane digesters to advances in nutritional balance that lead to lower per unit greenhouse gas emissions. I’ll give you a few statistics here. In fact, we’ve seen a 26 percent reduction in per unit of emissions in greenhouse gases for our dairy industry, while milk production is up 48 percent. We have a 20 percent reduction by our swine producers, with an 80 percent increase in pork production, and close to a 10 percent drop by our cattlemen and cattlewomen, with an 18 percent increase in our production of beef,” Vanderwal said.

Vanderwal reminded senators that farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists.

“This legislation makes clear that investment and innovation are the way forward, not commend and control regulation. Our advancements in sustainability are due to the adoption of technologies and farmers’ terrific participation in voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs,” said Vanderwal.

While the bill does have bipartisan support, some Democrats on the Committee raised concerns about it. They say the EPA does not currently issue emissions permits, and it is up to Congress to make that decision every year. Congress has included the restriction in every appropriations bill since 2009.


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