Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Greenhouse-gas reporting to affect very few farms

"The Environmental Protection Agency plans to establish a nationwide system for reporting greenhouse gas emissions, a program that could serve as the basis for a federal cap on the buildup of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to global warming," reports Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post. But the plan would only impact the very largest agricultural operations.

"The EPA requirements would apply to large industrial sources that emit 25,000 metric tons or more a year, including oil and chemical refineries; cement, glass, pulp and paper plants; manufacturers of motor vehicles and engines; and confined animal-feeding operations," writes Eilperin. Information gathered from the reporting could be used to establish mandatory emission caps in the future. (Read more)

What does that mean for farmers? "EPA estimates that fewer than 50 of the largest beef, dairy and hog operations would have to start reporting emissions," writes Philip Brasher of The Des Moines Register in his Green Fields blog. "Farms would only have to report their emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases if they have more than 25,000 tons of emissions."

According to the EPA only farming operations with 89,000 cattle, swine farms with at least 73,000 hogs, and dairy operations of more than 5,000 head would have to report their emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases. Poultry operations would have to report their emissions if they have more than 895,000 chickens.

"It’s not a real burdensome thing for agriculture at this point,"said Rick Krause, who follows climate policy for the American Farm Bureau Federation. (Read more)

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