California Declares War on Cow Farts with Specialized Weapons

Dairy farmers are already feeling the backlash of these new regulations as costs are being driven up, along with rising labor costs. And along with paying for the new equipment, they'll have to pay overtime costs to operate it.

Dairy farmers say the new regulations will drive up costs when they're already struggling with five years of drought, low milk prices and rising labor costs. They're also concerned about a newly signed law that will boost overtime pay for farmworkers.

“It just makes it more challenging. We're continuing to lose dairies. Dairies are moving out of state to places where these costs don't exist,” said Paul Sousa, director of environmental services for Western United Dairymen.

The dairy industry could be forced to move production to states and countries with fewer regulations, leading to higher emissions globally, Sousa said.

“We think it's very foolish for the state of California to be taking this position,” said Rob Vandenheuvel, general manager for the Milk Producers Council. “A single state like California is not going to make a meaningful impact on the climate.”

Regulators are looking for ways to reduce so-called enteric emissions — methane produced by bovine digestive systems. That could eventually require changes to what cattle eat.

But the biggest target is dairy manure, which accounts for about a quarter of the state's methane emissions.

State regulators want more farmers to reduce emissions with methane digesters, which capture methane from manure in large storage tanks and convert the gas into electricity.

The state has set aside $50 million to help dairies set up digesters, but farmers say that's not nearly enough to equip the state's roughly 1,500 dairies.

This is like saying the only to fix a capsizing ship is to poke another hole in the bottom to make it more aerodynamic. It doesn't make any sense. Not only is it making life hard for farmers, but it's making them dependent on the government for funding, which might be what Jerry Brown wants. There's a lot of delusional thinking at play here.





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