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25 September 2016 - Then vs. Now, Interesting.

I have said many times over the years, if it happens agriculturally in California, look for it to spread across the country. California has been in the agricultural news the past couple of weeks because of two bills signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The first bill requires farm workers to be paid overtime for their work week, if it goes over 40 hours, making California the only state in the nation with that law. But expect it to move across the country, especially to states where there are large numbers of migrant workers involved in agricultural production.

More recently, Governor Brown signed another law that means California will begin regulating green-house gas emissions tied to dairy cows and land-fills. The law targets a category of gases known as short-lived climate pollutants which have an outsize effect on global warming despite their relatively short life in the atmosphere.

What does it mean to California dairy farmers? According to Tom Scott, California Director for the National Federation of California Businesses, a small business advocacy group, “the law represents a direct assault on California’s dairy industry, and will hurt manufacturing by creating an arbitrary limit on natural gasses which dissipate quickly.”

Dairy farmers will be required to reduce methane emissions from manure by the year 2030 to 40% below their 2013 level. They will get some financial help; fifty-million dollars from the state’s fee charged to polluters known as cap and trade. That money will help, maybe a handful of dairy farmers, buy the methane digesters which use methane from manure to generate energy sold to electrical utilities.

The law also allows the Air Resources Board to regulate cow flatulence. That would regulate burps from the front end and ‘you know what’ coming out of the back end. It could create an entirely new industry to develop the technology needed to enable farmers (and cows) to deal with that issue.

Anyway, one of the questions I have, and this probably makes no sense at all,
centuries ago there were millions of bison and buffalo roaming the plains of the United States, what did environmentalists do about methane in the atmosphere back then? But I guess that is another story, so I will just leave it alone.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.