Scientists sniffing out methane emissions from cows sniffing at the wrong end

US - In the feverish race to cut methane emissions, agricultural bureaucrats have spent millions of dollars studying the wrong end of cattle and sheep.
calendar icon 12 July 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

It’s the burp and not United Nations-measured-flatulence sending greenhouse gas pollution sky high.

“Farmed ruminant animals are thought to be responsible for up to a quarter of “man-made” methane emissions worldwide though contrary to common belief, most gas emerges from their front, not rear, ends.” (The Guardian, July 10, 2007).

But while British experts have managed to pull their heads from the rear ends of cows and sheep, their North American counterparts are still there.

No one knows who ratted out the stinky cattle and sheep of the meadows to the MYOB-challenged (Mind Your Own Business –Challenged) UN and Al Gore.

Generations of motorists driving on country roads considered the bad smells coming from the pasture as natural as summer rains.

But late last month, the United States Department of Agriculture rewrote age old Mother Nature. It released reports stating that when you smell cow manure, you’re also (God forbid) smelling greenhouse gas emissions.

And you can bet the family farm that when the DOA comes up with an idea, it’s going to cost taxpayers money.

Odiferous cow manure, now the focus of millions of dollars worth of research, must be stamped out wherever it’s found.

“Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Mark Rey, was in Corning Wednesday morning at the Big Flats Plant Materials Center to announce the award of nearly $20 million in Conservation Innovation Grants to fund 51 research projects across the country designed to refine new technologies helping dairy and other agricultural producers cut back on their greenhouse emissions and cash in on governmental incentives for the research.” (, June 28, 2007).

A cool million dollars of those grants were earmarked specifically for New York State.

The USDA is currently taking applications from large dairy farms across the state that want to participate.

When Mark Rey goes off sniffing, it can get very expensive for taxpayers.

Here’s the deal: “The main focus of the grant-funded research in New York State would be to tarp off areas where farmers dump cow manure, commonly called manure lagoons. Researchers would then prevent those gases from entering the atmosphere, measure how many units are produced, and farmers would receive cash incentives, called “Carbon Credits,” for each unit produced. They would also receive annual payments for use of their properties.

Source: CFP
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