What do farms have to do with climate change? A whole lot. But if you're in the House or Senate, you're not even considering that. The current farm bill being tossed around Congress will accelerate global warming with more greenhouse gas emissions while making farms more vulnerable to those emissions. In a "meat-heavy" food system like ours with very little crop diversity and chemical feritilizers, we've set ourselves up for the kind of summer we had this year: hot and dry with low crop yield. Why not try the organic approach to farming? Nah, agribusiness wouldn't hear of it!
See the excerpt below from The New York Times about how the farm bill will actually affect the future.
Harvesting a Climate Disaster
By MARK HERTSGAARD
Published: September 12, 2012
The farm bill is not only the centerpiece of United States food and agriculture policy, it is also a de facto climate bill. And in this respect, both the Senate and House versions of the legislation are a disaster waiting to happen.
Consider, for a moment, the summer of 2012. For an agricultural superpower like the United States, it should have set off alarm bells. The hottest July on record and the worst drought in 50 years — both driven partly by global warming, scientists say — have parched soil and withered crops across the Farm Belt. Yet America’s lawmakers aren’t even remotely addressing the issue in a piece of legislation that will affect the climate profoundly for years to come.
The proposed farm bill — Senate- or House-style, take your pick — would make American agriculture’s climate problem worse, in two ways. Not only would the bill accelerate global warming by encouraging more greenhouse gas emissions, it would make the nation’s farms more vulnerable to the impacts of those emissions.
Indeed, instead of helping farmers take common-sense measures to limit their land’s vulnerability to extreme weather, the legislation would simply spend billions more on crop insurance — sticking taxpayers with the bill. “It’s like giving a homeowner cut-rate fire insurance but not requiring fire extinguishers,” said Jim Kleinschmit of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
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Image courtesy of NCCCUSA.org.