Family Farm Advocates Suspect Profit Motive Behind Some ‘Conservation’ Practices

Midwest family farm advocates have sent a letter to the U-S Agriculture Secretary opposing recent additions to conservation practices they say are bad for the environment.

The measures are funded through the Inflation Reduction Act. The U-S-D-A added a six-page list the department says will improve environmental conditions in the Midwest, and includes things such as improving crop rotation methods, reducing soil erosion, and enhancing wildlife habitat. It also calls for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, to add anaerobic digesters that collect methane from manure to be used for electricity.

But Kim Hagemann with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says the CAFOs still have to dispose of the massive amounts of manure that are left behind after the methane is extracted…

Hagemann argues the U-S-D-A investment in anaerobic digesters is actually an incentive for CAFOs to raise even more livestock in one place and profit from the increased methane. Large livestock operations say they are responding to a rising demand for safely grown meat and are constantly working to modernize their environmental practices.

Hagemann argues that while the U-S-D-A’s conservation programs are crucial to protecting the environment, things such as anaerobic digesters can have untended consequences in places like Iowa, where she says 54 percent of the state’s waterways are already contaminated with manure runoff, and the digesters act as an incentive to make things worse…

The U-S-D-A also adds money to establish Monarch butterfly habitat, restore native plant communities, and limit wildfire risk.

(credit to Iowa News Service)

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