New USDA Report on Climate and Ag Misses Key Fact: Industrial Ag Contributes 44-57 Percent of GHG Emissions

Why Do the EPA and USDA Continue to Perpetuate the ‘9-Percent Lie?’

Ronnie Cummins, co-founder of Organic Consumers Association and Regeneration International, made this statement in response to a report issued today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicting that global warming will cause U.S. taxpayers to pay 37 percent more over the next decade to subsidize commodity crop failures:

“Instead of subsidizing commodity crops that contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, why doesn’t the USDA subsidize regenerative agriculture practices that can reverse global warming?

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the USDA perpetuate the ‘9-percent lie’ that industrial agriculture contributes only 9 percent to overall emissions. A more accurate estimate of emissions from U.S. and international food, farming and land use, factoring in the production of millions of pounds of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, deforestation, transportation and other aspects of industrial ag, is 44-57 percent.

Along with the campaign to move to 100-percent renewable energy, we must end the massive emissions of our corporate-dominated food and farming system and start drawing down and sequestering in our soils and forests billions of tons of ‘legacy’ CO2 from the atmosphere, using the enhanced photosynthesis of regenerative farming, reforestation and land restoration. Why are the EPA and USDA downplaying this shovel-ready solution?”

Regenerative Agriculture refers to practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity. This results in both carbon drawdown and improved water infiltration and storage in soils. Regenerative practices include:

• Reduction/elimination of tillage and use of synthetic chemicals.

• The use of cover crops, crop rotations, compost, and animal manures.

• Integrating animals with perennial and annual plants to create a biologically diverse ecosystem on the farm.

• Grazing and pasturing animals on grass, and more specifically using a planned multi-paddock rotation system.

• Raising animals in conditions that mimic their natural habitat.

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