Ron Paul, Grass Farming, and Global Warming An Open Letter to Those Concerned With Global Warming

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Many people
within the libertarian community are skeptical about the science
behind global warming. I happen to think the threat of global warming
is of uncertain magnitude but of real concern. Most people who share
my concern are eager for the government to step in and regulate
carbon emissions, and for this reason find it difficult to bring
themselves to support Ron Paul's presidential campaign, fearing
that a Paul administration would stand back and do nothing to combat
global warming.

But this is
hardly the case. In fact, a Paul presidency would be a great asset
to anyone concerned about global warming. This may seem counter-intuitive
at first, but Ron Paul is the one candidate who offers a serious
promise to stop the governmental policies that threaten to wipe
out our most important solution to the problem — grass-farming.

Atmospheric
levels of carbon dioxide can be reduced in two ways: the amount
of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere can be reduced, and
the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered from the atmosphere in
oceans, soils, plant and animal life, and other "carbon sinks"
can be increased. Reducing carbon emissions only slows the rate
of increase in atmospheric CO2 while increasing carbon
sequestration causes reductions in atmospheric CO2 that
take effect immediately.

According to
the organization Carbon
Farmers of America
(CFA), the most promising method of carbon
sequestration and thus the most immediate and effective solution
to global warming is to increase topsoil formation with pasture-based
farming
.

According to
CFA, the amount of topsoil lost in the Great Plains over the last
150 years can sequester the same amount of carbon that has been
released into the atmosphere by human industry since the Industrial
Revolution. By restoring the same amount of topsoil, we could reduce
atmospheric CO2 to pre-industrial levels. On a global
scale, we could achieve the same result by merely increasing the
level of topsoil by 1.6%!

CFA promotes
the ideas of P.A. Yeomans, who discovered over fifty years ago that
the combination of grazing livestock on pasture and a process of
mechanically aerating soil between grazing and irrigation called
"subsoiling" could lead to astounding rates of topsoil
formation. When practiced correctly, CFA claims that 18 to 24 inches
of topsoil can be formed by these methods in just three years.

CFA's innovative
solution to provide an incentive for topsoil formation involves
no government regulation. It pays farmers $19 for every ton of carbon
dioxide they sequester into each half-ton of soil organic matter.
This is financed by selling $25 "carbon sinks" to environmentally
conscious consumers who wish to offset their own carbon consumption
or contribute even more. An additional $5 is spent on training and
educating farmers about the necessary procedures and $1 is spent
on administrative expenses.

Other organizations
such as the Weston A. Price
Foundation
promote grass-based farming because of the superior
nutritional value
of the foods it produces. EatWild.Com
promotes it for its benefits to animals,
farmers, and the
environment
as well. Consumer pressure based on these concerns provides an additional
incentive for farmers to turn to grass-farming.

Where does
Ron Paul fit into all of this? Without a Ron Paul presidency, grass-farming
might not have a future in this country.

As discussed
in the documentary The
Future of Food
, American corn is actually sold at well below
the price it costs to produce it because of government subsidies.
This distortion of the market is one of the factors that make confinement
operations profitable and enable them to overpower pasture-based
operations — but this has been going on for a long time.

As the president
of the American Grassfed Association has pointed
out
, the USDA's proposed standards for the coming "grass-fed"
label would allow confinement operations to be labeled accordingly
without the animals actually grazing on pasture — and thus without
the promise of topsoil formation.

The greatest
potential threat to grass-farming, however, is the National
Animal Identification System (NAIS).
NAIS is the USDA's plan
to track the movement of every farm animal and certain kinds of
pets within the country, ideally with microchip technology. The
plan severely penalizes pasture-based farmers by allowing factory
farms to use a single ID to register each group of thousands of
animals while requiring farmers with more genetically diverse and
free-ranging animals to use an ID for each animal.

Ron Paul is
the leading
opponent of NAIS
in Congress. Indeed, he is the only
presidential candidate who has spoken out against this monstrosity.

What damage
NAIS might cause to small farms and pasture-based farms we do not
yet know. But it is very well possible that the fight over NAIS
will be the fight over the right of the small farm and pasture-based
farm to exist.

Ron Paul also
supports the right to raw milk, which is closely associated with
grass-farming. Most consumers who demand raw milk for health reasons
also demand grass-fed milk, and many farmers conscious of the benefits
of grass-feeding are also conscious of the health benefits of raw
milk. The website RealMilk.Com
promotes both.

The FDA has
been revving up its machinery for a full-on assault on the right
to drink raw milk and has recently used our tax money to publish
a sensationalist propaganda piece called On
the Safety of Raw Milk
that offers dubious statistics based
on shoddy research alleging that raw milk is responsible for 0.4%
of cases of food-borne illness and then concludes that it is "inherently
dangerous" (emphasis in the original) and that drinking it
is "like playing Russian roulette with your health."

Under the executive
order of Ronald Reagan and under the decree of the FDA, it is illegal
to transport raw milk across state lines, even between two states
that allow the sale of raw milk. Ron Paul introduced a congressional
bill
that would overturn this injustice. In his speech
on the House floor
, he called the restriction an "unconstitutional
restraint" and said that Americans who wish to consume raw
milk "have the right to consume these products without having
the federal government second-guess their judgment about what products
best promote health."

The raw milk
issue is not going away. A recent Reuters
article
predicted it would be the number one top health issue
of 2008. We can expect 2008 to see more tax dollars spent trying
to drive raw milk producers out of the market whether by propagating
fear or by the use of force — and thus indirectly another assault
on grass-based farming.

And Ron Paul
is the only presidential candidate we can expect to stand up to
it.

Rather than
simplistically assuming that the only solution to global warming
involves government regulation of carbon emissions, we should look
at the big picture. Grass-farming and subsoiling may be the most
efficient means of sequestering carbon and thus the most immediately
effective means of reducing atmospheric carbon. The government has
done enough to promote the agribusiness practices that destroy topsoil
as it is, but the coming years may see an all-out war that threatens
to eradicate the practices that create it. This threatens not only
to take away a major tool we have to combat climate change, but
would take away the major tool we have to form a livelihood independent
of the handful of corporations like Monsanto that are well on their
way to gaining control of the entire world's food supply.

Ron Paul will
protect our best means of carbon sequestration from the head-on
assault of government bureaucrats. His presidency can be part of
the solution. I urge you all to join me in supporting him in the
Republican primaries and, if he is nominated, the general election.

December
29, 2007

Chris
Masterjohn [send him mail]
is pursuing his PhD in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition
and edits the web site Cholesterol-And-Health.Com.

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