Thursday, December 29, 2016

Trickle Down Conservation

CBF gets $1.1M to help livestock farmers with conservation
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its partners received a $1.1 million award to help livestock farmers in Maryland carry out conservation practices like raising animals on pasture rather than in confined areas.

The money, a Regional Conservation Partnership Program award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will support about 20 livestock farmers convert cropland to pasture, the USDA said.
So the program is aimed at converting CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operations) into pasture raising operations? I question the efficiency, as the same number of animals will eat the same amount of forage or more if left in the field. And $1.1 million between 20 farmers is roughly $50 thousand each. I wonder how many farmers will be find that attractive.
"Putting livestock back on pasture, as farmers did for generations, is one of the best means for restoring both farm profits and clean water," Chesapeake Bay Foundation Executive Director Alison Prost said in a statement. "Pasture-raised animals are generally healthier, input costs are lower, and farmers are often paid a premium for selling 'grass-fed' products."
Yes, and I have occasionally even noticed a change in quality. And even more occasionally, a change for the better. YMMV.
Converting cropland to pasture also results in less potential runoff of fertilizer and manure from farms into local streams, Prost said. 
However, in most cases, CBF and it's allies tend to oppose all agricultural land uses as pollution sources.
The projects will target counties within the Upper Potomac watershed, which represent the highest number or concentration of dairy livestock operations in Maryland, the USDA said.
Will this be a typical bait and switch operation, where the money goes to CBF, who spends it on "education" or will this money actually be used to offset the "costs" of converting cropland to pasture. And how much overhead will CBF extract along to way to support its operations. 10%, 20%, 30%?

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