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tv   Hearing on Sustainable Agriculture Practices  CSPAN  March 9, 2022 2:17pm-4:42pm EST

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technology, empowering opportunity in communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> up next, a house hearing on sustainability practices in the livestock industry, including methane emissions from cattle. >> the livestock subcommittee will come to order, i think we got a good subcommittee this morning. we have, i think, some very talented individuals who have hands-on experience in
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production agriculture in dealing with sustainability, economic sustainability, while improving environmental conditions as it relates to their operations and making it pay off. so as we do with typical subcommittee hearings, we will, after opening remarks, members will receive testimony from our witnesses today and then we will open it up for questions and consultation with the ranking member. i wanted to make subcommittee members away that other members of the full committee may join us today and we welcome their participation and so we look forward to that occurring.
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and the opportunity to get some things done as we look at the challenges facing american agriculture and issues involving american agriculture under these challenging times that we're living in, i think is important for this subcommittee to focus on, as we prepare not only for this year's legislative agenda but also set the table for next year's farm bill. and in my mind, i look at these efforts as all tied in, in one fashion or another. and i want to thank the members of the subcommittee and members of the full committee that are participating because it's a good opportunity for us to try to maintain the bipartisanship that has always been a hallmark of the house agriculture committee, i think that we're all proud of. having said that, let me start by saying good morning. i want to thank our witnesses and ranking member johnson,
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members of the subcommittee today for our opportunity to discuss the impacts of climate change, sustainability, in the livestock sector. i think many of us have personal relationships with constituents that are among the most innovative and the live stock community in america. i certainly do and i'm very proud of these folks involved and engaged. i don't think we can waver from the impacts of climate change is having with regard to not only the air and the water and the other important resource issues that we consume, but also the impacts worldwide and as a third generation farmer, a person that's been engaged in seeing a lot of changes over the years, i
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like to say farmers, ranchers, dairy men and women are among the most concerned of stewards of the environment, because the whole renewablity and ability to maintain the renewablity of that resource the air, water and land is critical to their ability to maintain farming operations. the biden administration rejoined the paris agreement. i think this is an opportunity for us to look on how we work together not only in this country but around the world. that means reducing our carbon footprint as it relates to emissions in ways that make sense working with industry as part of the reason for this subcommittee hearing, to figure out how we deal with the impacts and ensure we have measurable outcomes. i can tell you in california, we've been doing that for a number of years. i'm glad we have some witnesses from california that can share
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their experiences with us today. i think we all feel very strongly about agriculture and its important role in putting food on america's dinner table every night. it is, as many of you have heard me say time and time again, a national security issue. and i think agriculture certainly the folks i work with at home understand that the issue of climate change is important. water and the snow melt, snow pack that we get in california's mountains are critical to our sustainability and having adequate water supply and yet we see increasing changes of our snow pack and our water availability and, of course a result of that in part, the fires we've had to address in california. but like all farmers, i'm an optimist, i think you have to be an optimist if you're a farmer,
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rancher, dairy man or woman and i think the flipside of these challenges we face is that agriculture can and is making a meaningful contribution to reducing and offsetting emissions. today, we will hear from producers and others to how they have advanced in their own operations, sustainability initiatives so that we can better understand the challenges on how farmers, ranchers, dairymen and women are coming together to deal with what they can do certainly when provided to impact climate change and what the barriers are and what we need to factor in to help them in achieving these goals. emission, i think, we need to account for the impact that, in terms of cropping patterns, in terms of availability of water resources in different regions
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in our country and throughout the world, frankly, that climate change is going to have. there's a lot of areas where the sustainability of agriculture around the world is going to be very difficult in semiarid regions because of a lack of water. and so we all have, i think, a responsibility here, conditions, for example grazing lands impacts our livestock producers. i got family that farms on the west coast range mountains of california and when they look at 10-year averages and the amount of precipitation they get to grow those grasses, to feed their cattle, it becomes a very difficult challenge in terms of the amount of years they can count on enough feed to make that operation work.
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so not only puts them further strain on our food production, i think the panel we have here is an impressive caliber of knowledge what is being done to build sustainability in our livestock system, and other individuals from california certainly have a lot of experience there. i look forward to a productive discussion with members of the subcommittee so we can work together in a collaborative fashion, a bipartisan fashion with our livestock producers to scale up adoption of climate-smart practices so i'd like to introduce my friend and colleague, ranking member johnson from south dakota for any remarks he would like to make at this time. >> thank you, mr. chairman and i'd like to thank you and your team also how collaborative you are in the lead-up to these hearings. i echo what you said being an impressive panel and look forward to hearing from these knowledgeable and solutions-focused experts. but let's be clear, there are
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threats, because there are less knowledgeable and less solutions-focused people who are sharing their views in other venues. i was disappointed earlier this week to see the new york times had an opinion piece titled, and i'm not making this up, "meet the people getting paid to kill our planet" and the opinion piece made sweeping inaccurate statements about american agriculture. the piece seemed oblivious to the kind of progress we're making as a country. piece was terrible, and was made worse by the fact that some members of congress, including senator cory booker cooperated with the project. so let's be clear, because the facts are not in dispute, in recent decades, reduced net emissions by 40%. so net emissions from u.s. beef production are 10 times lower than net emissions in other parts of the world.
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additionally, u.s. ranchers are producing the same amount of beef today as they did in 1977 with 33% fewer animals and less land being used as well and farm productivity was 280% greater in 2017 than it was in 1948, i mean that's just incredible. 287% greater. so mr. chairman, you're exactly right. the american farmer, the american rancher, they are producing more with less. they have made the united states the most efficient producer of food and fiber in the world and mr. chairman, that environmental progress will continue because of the solutions being worked on by the witnesses on our panel today as well as progress being made by others. and those solutions are coming in many forms. i would call out one precision ranching technologies developed by south dakota state university
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and western research and extension center and this is an interesting project, deploying a series of precision measuring technologies, so what do they to? they're using gps, precision scales, to track individual cattle location and weight on a daily basis. and these tools also allow producers to manage grazing rotations with a smartphone. so collectively, these tools are getting us unprecedented insight into the grazing practices of these cattle, what they're eating, what that means for weight gain, and what that means for food quality and sustainability. this is an incredibly fun project and an important one as well. so i would just close by saying, mr. chairman, a better, more sustainable future will not come from the harsh, scolding voices from the naysayers it comes from
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the innovation of people like at ncsu and the witnesses today. and with that i yield back. >> i thank my friend and colleague from south dakota for making those points, the collaborative and constructive efforts on behalf of american agriculture, on a region basis i think has been significant. yes, we can do more and that's part and purpose of this subcommittee hearing. the fact is that american agriculture does more with less as member has stated, i think substantially, and yes, we have challenges out there, but the fact is that, you know, nobody, i think, in so many different ways, region by region basis is trying to, their very best, to implement best on-site farm management practices that would ultimately produce results but there is more, obviously we can and should do, as is the common
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courtesy of this subcommittee and other subcommittees, we always recognize when we hold a subcommittee hearing, the chair and the ranking member of the full committee, if in fact they are participating and they wish to make a comment. maintaining that tradition, my friend my pennsylvania, mr. thompson is here participating with us and i would yield him time to, an opportunity to make comments that he may choose to make. >> well good morning, chairman, thank you so much, ranking member johnson, thank you both for this hearing. i certainly want to align myself with the comments that have been made here, you know, american agriculture, from the very beginnings, has always been science, technology and innovation, but that means we're not static. we are dynamic and with incredible opportunities ahead,
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though it's always been science, technology, innovation, the rate of innovation today is happening exponentially and it's very exciting, very exciting for america and for, certainly for our work together in the agriculture committee. i'd also like to thank each of our witnesses for the participation today, as you heard previously, u.s. farm productivity and practice improved dramatically over the past 70 years. specifically, productivity increasing 287% while the inputs in land use have remained, well, if not unchanged, quite frankly less land, sadly, where we see acreage go out of agriculture production. in short, we're producing much more food and fiber while using maybe the same amount but i would argue less resources than we did generations ago. i believe this is something that isn't talked about enough. u.s. producers are the shining star when it comes to
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resiliency, sustainability, and summarize that if you would prefer with the word climate. agriculture is the solution, it's not the problem. it's research, innovation and technology. now just as they've been for the past 70 years, innovation and research has to remain at the forefront of these efforts moving forward, certainly the forefront of our efforts as a committee, just as they had been for the past 70 years, those who farmers, ranchers, foresters, innovation of research, it's just incredible, so important to be, as just an effective tool. from biotechnology to promising livestock feed ingredients, the precision agriculture, new cropping systems, support for development, adoption, innovation products and practices will be critical to ensuring farmers have the tools necessary to continue sustainability enhancing
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productivity. policies from washington should acknowledge the agricultural sector's success and contributions we've made to sustainability and climate, environment, the economy, and build upon it by focusing on their efforts to voluntarily do more, only by incentivizing pro growth solutions. well that's why i introduced the sustains act, which provides opportunity for the private sector to partner with usda to further engage farmers and ranchers in supporting voluntary conservation initiatives. bipartisan solutions should revolve around a commitment to these proven programs, reducing rotate and reducing regulations. now i feel burdensome top-down regulations and conflicted policies will harm rural economies when displacing u.s. production with that of less efficient foreign producers. i know that's something we all want to avoid and certainly look forward to hearing from today's
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witnesses and hearing more about their voluntary initiatives and thoughtful recommendations and with that, mr. chairman, thank you so much for the opportunity to be a part of this subcommittee hearing and i yield back. >> i want to thank the gentleman from pennsylvania for his comments and would request that members from the subcommittee submit their opening statements for the record so witnesses may begin their testimony and so that we can ensure there's ample time for questions. as we have in some of the witnesses today, before us, testified before, i'm trying to see if the witnesses have it available to them because it would be more helpful if they do, i can't, i don't seem to have it on my screen, but this new world we live in in virtual hearings sometimes makes it complicated to participate. but there's five minutes time
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that is allotted for everyone's testimony and, of course, members are allotted the same amount of time for questions and comments they wish to make when it comes their turn. so i'm pleased to welcome our distinguished panel of witnesses here today as we noted. they bring a wide range of experience and expertise around the country on the issues of climate impacts and american agriculture so we thank you all for joining us. our first witness today is dr. kim stackhouse glossen, she has her ph.d. as the director of next dag and professor and department of sciences at colorado state university in fort collins, colorado, one of america's premier universities and we're very pleased that dr.
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lawsen, that you're available today. i hope you have the screen available so you can see and that you can begin with your comments for five minutes and i'll try to be appropriate at the time that you're, is concluded. but please, begin your presentation for members of the senate committee. >> chairman costa, ranking member johnson and members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to speak today. i am dr. kim stackhouse-lawson, professor of animal science at colorado state university, up next is a first of its kind research collaborative focused on sustainable solutions for animal agriculture. sustainability is defined with a three pillar approach, social, economic and environment, each is dependent on the other and no one pillar is more important. due to the complexity and importance of animal agriculture systems we must consider
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interactions and potential unintended consequences of solutions towards enhanced sustainability. by 2050, our planet's population will increase by 2.2 billion requiring food production to increase 70%. animal a agriculture production will need to increase 100% to ensure adequate nutrition to the rapidly growing population. climate change is going to have a major impact on our food supply chain. these changes alone are going to challenge and require improvements in the adaptive capacity and resiliency of farmers and ranchers in rural communities. there is no question this will be the greatest challenge of our lifetime, providing this noourgz and doing so within the bounds of our planetary resources in an equitable way should be our focus. the critical nature and timeliness of ensuring food security, doubling food production, while meeting sustainability goals is no small task. sustainability silver bullets do
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not exist. we must take a more inclusive and systematic approach to ensure we do not solve one prub problem and create other unintended impacts. it is critical we create solutions that are place based, easy to adopt and economically viable. further continuing sustainability is the pace which it is growing in importance, many leading companies and industries announced aggressive sustainability goals including net zero targets by 2030 and 2050 with leading and lasting impacts on the food system as we know it toed. many countries and governments including the u.s. made similar commitments. while i appreciate the intention and momentum behind setting these aggressive targets, the roadmaps to achieve these goals are elusive. more information is needed to inform these strategies, namely the development of appropriate baselines and real world solutions that result in tangible, science-based outcomes. filling this knowledge gap will allow the livestock industry, academia and policy makers to
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understand how food production interacts with and impacts climb change. the livestock industry and academic community continue to actively explore how to effectively measure, validate, and continuously improve livestock sustainability, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a realistic and comprehensive way. emissions from live stock are difficult to measure and until the last decade, sign it's justs didn't have effective methods to quantify in their natural environments. today, emission estimates are based on models. using absolute emission data, absolute emission data from livestock is needed to fully understand mitigation potential. without a baseline, farmers and ranchers and others along the supply chain are faced with the channel to reduce emissions but lack understanding where to begin which makes it nearly impossible to determine if mitigation strategies are effective. an additional component of this research must focus on scaleable solutions that are also
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profitable for producers to promote economic growth, while ensuring the food system can produce the amount of nutrient-dense food that would be required to meet the nutritional needs of a growing population over the coming decades. to develop truly sustainable solutions, all steakholders need to be engaged and invested in the process and this should include government entities and policy makers. currently there's limited access to federal funding, grants to research systems. investing in the space of sustainability is rapidly increasing and evolving faster than ever before. and there's an opportunity to leverage these funds and this momentum as we work together to meet this challenge. while sustainability has become a major focus recently, the livestock industry has been dedicated to continuous improvement for several decades, the majority of production in the u.s. happens on family-owned farms and ranches, livestock
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orpgszs are a critical element to the high quality protein available to domestic and international consumers. pressure is placed on farmers and ranchers to impact without the appropriate tools they need to be successful. as we move toward researching sustainable solutions for the livestock industry, it is critical these strategies generated are applicable to the appropriate region in which the operation is located and improve the overall sustainability of the food system. thank you for the opportunity to testify before this panel and i'd be glad to address your questions and look forward to the discussion. >> well thank you very much, dr. stackhouse-lawson for your comment and see points, i think they are well-taken. the ability to provide measurements that are understandable and solutions that can achieve those goals are critical toward our ability to manage this and your point about
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sufficient funding to do a lot of the research is necessary is something to take into account with the next bill and some of the discussions on going with legislation. i think your perspective really points out something i like to talk about regularly that i think really makes the united states in some ways so different than other parts of the world and that's our land grant universities, agricultural schools like yours that played an important role historically in terms of research that has allowed american agriculture over 100 years to really achieve the levels of quality, investment, and best management practices that without that academic involvement, i don't think would have been possible. so keep up the good work and our next witness today is a person
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and her family, rosy burls with the burls family farms in california, their marketing flagship for regenerative pasture, include almonds, beef, chicken, berries, eggs, olive oil, walnuts, turkeys. their farming and ranching efforts are like california -- diverse. therefore, we're very proud of their efforts and ms. burls, you have five minutes to present to the committee, look forward to hearing your comments. >> good morning subcommittee chairman costa, ranking member johnson, members of the subcommittee, and members of the full committee. thank you for the opportunity to testify before you about my family's farms and our
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experiences farming with regenerative practices. my husband ward and i farm with our children and families in the rolling foothills of the san waquin valley, over the last 20 years we have formed partnerships with our children. thank you for mentioning all of our products under the burroughs family farm marketing flagship. our nation's greatest resource is the rancher and farming families who are the stewards of our grasslands and farm lands and prugs our country's food and fiber. our future survival depends on how we handle climate change and the extreme weather patterns of drought and devastating storms
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which are symptomatic of the warming of our planet. this is extremely important that u.s. agriculture responds to these problems by adopting regenerative agriculture practices. as we started our farming, ranching journey as conventional farmers, we didn't know what we didn't know, and we were part of the problem. around 20 years ago we discovered the holistic approach to ranching and farming and our path to organic ranching and farming practices. we take a moment to explain regenerative agriculture. it is a system of farming principles and practices that seek to regenerate and enhance the entire ecosystem of our farm, our ranches, by concentrating on building soil health which increases soil biodiversity and organic matter leading to more resilient soils
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that can better withstand climate change impacts like flooding and drought. regenerative practices help us fight the climate crisis by pulling carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the ground. healthy soils lead to strong yields and nutrient-dense, rich crops. to do this on our farms we're using the practices to build soil health, no till or minimum till keeping the soil covered with diversity of plants for as long as possible and we have integrated animal grazing on our range lands, irrigated pastures and orchards where possible. we use compost and manure for fertility. research conducted by cal state east bay in a comparative study including our regenerative almond orchard showed that
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regenerative orchards can have a 30% higher soil organic matter, significantly greater carbon sequestering and greater soil health, six times water infiltration rates, six times higher insect biomass and measurably greater soil microbial activity and similar yields. this is proof that regenerative ag practices will work to ensuring our farmers and ranchers continue their work by being sustainable and viable while protecting our environment. we are very proud to be part of the regenerative agriculture movement which has been gaining momentum, but we need more support to continue forward in research and education. i am here today to implore this committee to support funding in the new farm bill for regenerative agriculture practices. in closing, i have listed more
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information with links in my written testimony. we are hosting a farm field day on february 17th and i'd really like you to take special attention to the two links for center of renewable agriculture and regenerative systems at chico, both excellent research on the systems, and thank you for the opportunity to share about my family farms and hope you will take and appreciate the information in this hearing to support the sustainability of livestock systems . >> mrs. burroughs we thank you very much for your assistance and trying to ensure your farming operations are as sustainable as they possibly can be and the experiences you had to deal with, you and your family, in making those changes
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and adjustments and we look forward for the opportunity to question you. your february 17th farm day, please get my office the information. i don't know that it's possible that i could be there, but if it is, i would certainly like to see it firsthand. our next witness is an individual who i've known for a number of years who farms in my area. his family has been active in dairy in california for generations. operates maderos hostings in california, also a member of the national milk producers federation and he is now working on, i think, melvin, the third or fourth generation in your family to maintain that involvement. but you don't farm the way your father did nor your grandfather, nor do i. and we look forward to your comments.
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please, begin. >> well, thank you, thank you, good morning chairman costa, ranking members johnson and members of the subcommittee and i thank you for the opportunity to testify today and share the dairy perspective on sustainability. i'm mall vin medeiros. i have been dairying since 1981 on a farm started by my parents. today my wife kelly and i own and operate medeiros holt stings as well as medeiros dairy along with our two sons. i am honored to serve as chairman of the western division of the dairy farmers of america. i am testifying before you today on behalf of the national milk producer's federation of which dfa is a member cooperative and i serve on the executive committee. we tend with great care to your land and our water to ensure future generations can carry on feeding the u.s. and the world.
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we value proactive sustainability and have adapted agricultural practices that evolved over time. in 2007 producing a gallon of milk used 90 of the land, 63% less water with 63% smaller carbon input unanimous 1984. producing a gallon of will requires less water, less land, smaller carbon footprint and 20% less manure than in 2007. as a farmer owned cooperative, dfa is developing new innovative ways to conserve resources and is committed to a 30% reduction of emissions across the cooperative by 2030. more broadly n 2009, u.s. dairy industry launched a program to demonstrate that the u.s. dairy farmers are committed to producing the best milk.
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it measures and proves their foot point. today, organizations representing 99% the milk volume participate in the farm program. overall w almost 80% of the milk volume part fating in the environmental steward portion. farmers are always striving to produce more with less. focused with continuous improvements in that area to -- in 2020, the u.s. dairy sector set aggressive new sustainability goals to become greenhouse neutral or better, improve water quality and optimize usage by 2050. to do this, the dairy industryl need to identify technological and other advancements. national milk and the industry's partners mobilized through net zero initiative to do just that.
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however, sustained prices and high upgrade costs make farmers eager for improvements that will unlock additional revenue streams. to help u.s. dare lee farmers enhance their ongoing sustainability leadership, the dairy industry needs your support. national milk recommends two areas of policy. first, usda programs must be instrumental in achieving sustainable goals, and -- and feed management. entearic emissions account for greenhouse gases. we support increasing program funding to keep and achieve these goals and are grateful to the members of both parties that have put forth legislation to bolster conservation programs. second, national mill supports policies in a spur and adopt policy and practices.
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adopting anaerobic digesters but lacks sustainable markets for this energy produced on farm and it has limited number economic vinlt. similar, new feed additives reduce emissions but current policy inhibits timely approval and put u.s. farmers at a disadvantage. to solve these problems we support creating an incentive tax credit to cover up front costs of digesters and the approve safe effective animal feed ingredients. i want to emphasize how critical sustainability is to remaining a competitive global slooi supplier. the u.s. dairy sector is well positioned to meet environmental demands of consumers worldwide: our competitors are continuously making investments positions their way of farming as more
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sustainable. this type of supportive outlined today is needed to help us counter that. in conclusion, i want to note that the agriculture industry has been focus on sustainability for many generations. while we might have talked different our goals have been always to leave the resources on our farms better for our children. you can gill these gaps and make further strides. thank you for the opportunity to represent the dairy industry and, i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, melvin, and your family, and your comment. and we look forward to the opportunity to ask you some questions and get better insight on the challenges you are facing. our next witness is the brackett family. they have brackett ranches in nevada and hide ho border, lands where they graze cattle, and are private lands opened by the family and they also deal with
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federal allotments owned by the federal government and they manage with federal agencies. they have had a long history and been involved in the national cattlemen's beef board and the idaho cattle association and have a long track record of experience and dealing with the challenges of what the cattle industry faces. at this time, i would like to recognize kim brackett for your comments and testimony. and we look forward to hearing your thoughts. >> thank you, chairman costa, and ranking member johnson, and members of the subcommittee for inviting me to testify today. my name is kim brackett. and together with my husband ira and our four children we management brackett ranks which is a cow calf operation on the idaho and nevada border. the lands are both private lands owned by my family and federal allotments owned by the federal
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government. as chairman of the beef industry's five year strategic plan task force i can tell you we have a key industry objective to intensify efforts in reaching, improving, and communicating u.s. beef industry sustainability. so i'm very happy to be here today to talk with you about that work. collectively, cattle producers in the united states manage livestock on approximately 815 million acres. that's nearly one third of our nation's continental landmass. in addition to providing grass for our cattle, pastures and rangeland provide person ecosystem services, sequestering carbon in the soil, naturally filtering water and improving wildlife and habitat. the beef cattle industry has a great sustainability story. this is proven by generations of successful production. according to the u.s. environmental protection agency, direct emissions from beef cattle only represent 2% of all
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greenhouse gas emissions. not only are beef calculates not significant contributors to the fully missions profile. the work cattle and cattle producers do helps to avoid other kinds of emissions like those from cat cattic wildfire and it makes lands pour drought resilient. cattle ranchers are the original protecters of biodiversi. my ranch is no exception. for us to get drinking water the our cattle in our sage brush country we have an underground piping system that starts at the head of the mountain and runs 70 miles. it is a value of a hole whisic systems based approach to managing our ranch. the pipeline provides water for our cattle and also brings drinking water to the wildlife and birds on our rangelands.
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by maintaining and expandsing this pipeline system over the years we have increased wildlife and bird happen at the thus increasing biodiversity. another example of a sustainable practice on our ranch is targeted grazing. when cattle are allowed to graze at the right time of year, it will reduce seed production and reduce long-term spread of invasive annual grace that can be fuel for massive wildfires. preserving these large unbroken landscapes is critical for environmental health. when ranchers are regulated out of business, these vast lands are often divided and sold in small acre parcels, greatly impeding mai wild looir migratory habitats. our industry came together last year to develop long-term sustainability goechls i would like to share those with you. our industry has committed to, one, demonstrate the climate neutrality of u.s. cattle production by 2040. two, create and enhance
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opportunities that result in a quantifiable increase in producer profitability and economic sustainability. three, enhance trust in cattle producers as responsible stewards of their animals and resources by expanding educational opportunities in animal care and handling programs to further improve animal well-being. and four, to continuously improve our industry's work force safety and well-being. our goals embrace the idea that sustainability is a three-legged stool. cattle operations and our industry must be environmentally sensitive, economically viable, and socially responsible in order to stay in business. every day our industry loses vital grasslands to development or other non-agricultural uses. it is of the utmost importance that we preserve our legacy carbon sinks across this country, especially our grazing
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lands. by creating private market value for ecosystem services like wild looir habitat, water filtration and carbon sequestration we can ensure that grassland managers are being compensated for all the services they provide, food production and conservation. congress also has an important role to play here, by ensuring that ranches can effectively be passed to the next generation and by working to protect cattle producers from unaffordable regulatory burdenen. combatting regulatory burden is necessary to maximize our industry's potential to reduce emissions. our family remains committed to environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable for generations to come. thank you. >> thank you, very much, ms. brackett for your comments. and i think your illustration of how you have been able to manage your own family's livestock operation in a responsible way and, serve your recommendations
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are well taken. i failed to note from members of the subcommittee and for our witnesses that we are televised this morning, today on c-span. so you can certainly let your constituents back home and those family members can see this being televised live throughout the country. our next witness we have is an individual who in part closes i think the loop and our efforts to talk about the entirety of how we produce food. as i said throughout the country, on a regional basis that ultimately gets to america's dinner table. and, clearly, as i said, food is a national security issue. and i get frustrated on occasion that sometimes too many americans think that their food
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comes from their grocery store or their favorite restaurant. not that that's bad. we obviously get our food from multiple sources. but it's important that we know , ultimately the challenge of producing that food to our family's dinner table or to our favorite restaurant which i think is a good lead-on for our next witness, which ernie meier, he chairs -- for sustainable poultry and eggs and director of quality systems for the u.s. supply chain. part of mcdonald's' u.s.a. chicago operations and a person that i think can provide some meaningful testimony. we all deserve a break today. and mr. meier, if you could provide with us that evident, we certainly would like to get your
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insight on where you see the challenges facing putting that -- making that food available to the american consumer. you may begin your testimony. >> thank you chairman. hello. i am ernie meier, the director of quality u.s. supply chain for mcdonald's u.s.a. i am the current chair for the u.s. round table of sustainable u.s. -- and eggs. as a multistake holder independent and non-profit organization the rounds table was put together to represent the supply chain of u.s. poultry and egg industries. we are grateful for the invitation to speak before the subcommittee. we currently have full time membership commitments from almost 100 farms, organizations, and individuals, with national and international business reach that include more than 500 individual experts. they range across all disciplines of our business,
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from those that directly care for birds to companies like mcdonald's offering poultry and egg products to our end customers. each of these individuals is plugged into the round table and working on our shared goal, to continuously improve the sustainability of u.s. poultry and egg supply chains. we believe that the most successful sustainable tools are created by both those implementing them and those impacted by them. every member has an equal vote in our structure to allow optimal collaboration. and much of our work is open to public input. we are driven by a diverse group with varying resources and sizes. for more than three years, farmers, integrators, researchers, grocery stores, animal health companies, environmental groups, equipment companies and restaurant chains have actively been working to build the connections and tools we need to meet modern food challenges and continuously
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improve sustainable. we work to identify solutions that are environmentally sound, socially responsible, and economically viable. what is unique about the round table that we are a community and catalyst for progress. we are encouraging improvement by helping facilitate connections, providing access to expertise, and remove barriers to advancements without os at that sizing stakeholders. the most effective sustainability strategies are based on sound data and come precomprehensible repeatable measurements. the round table and its members have invested their own significant time and resources into developing the first ever full sustainability supply chain framework for u.s. turkey chicken and eggs which i will refer to going forward as the framework. we completed the development process in december last year and are at full speed to create the software tool to collect the data within this year.
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there is a lot of data to collect. the scale and importance of poultry in the baetd of americans, and our world continues to grow. poultry is the most consumed protein due the it at accessibility to all call cultures. affordability, and ease for at-home quicking and quick service food. it is also a pillar for the food and agricultural industry, generating more than $567 billion in annual economic impact, and $41.9 billion in taxes, with more than 2 million workers employed by the poultry and egg supply chains. what shifted lately is the push up and down supply chain. it's not enough for us to have fantastic sustainability programs at mcdonald's and at our suppliers, we must have everything put together from the very beginning, from the fee for the birds, and to the delivery of our food across the country. mcdonald's has taken learnings from the round table and committed and invested millions of dollars in partnership programs with its suppliers to increase the sustainability of
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its poultry supply chain. one example of this is is the round table partnership and the u.s. round table for sustainable poultry and eggs sustainability framework. another project example is the smart broiler project focused on innovation and outcomes of based poultry welfare assessments. i share with you today to offer good news that the spire poultry supply chain is communicating about their sustainability and improving it. not resisting it. in poultry, we are not quited by industry or discipline but found a way to work together at a higher great competitive level to find paths for everyone. mcdonald's is happy to be part this growing organization and its project asks to speak with you about this work. from investing in renewable energy and partnering with organizations such as the rounds table to advance sustainability and regenerative agricultural practices we also want to help protect our planet for communities today and in the
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future. your effort to secure funding and direction that provide resources to the number one most consumed protein in the united states will be put to good use and amplified by independent efforts like the u.s. round table for poultry and eggs. i will be happy to answer any questions that you have. i will take any questions i cannot answer to the round table and tap into the community of experts for more information. thank you for the time and interest in the u.s. poultry and egg sector. >> thank you, mr., meyer, for providing that perspective with the egg and poultry section, and the issue of sustainability, which is obviously the subject matter of our hearing today. and environmental gain and economic viability. you did reference on a number of your comments the supply chain challenges we face. and while it's not the subject matter of today's hearing, we
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have all been dealing over the last 20-plus months of this pandemic, of the impacts, especially early on when we closed schools and restaurants and really taking a very complicated and complex supply chain for america's food and turning it upside down. certainly, there have been lessons to learn from that. but we are now in the phase of the subcommittee hearing that i enjoy where members of the committee get a chance to ask questions or make comments to the various witnesses that we have here this morning. and you have all done an excellent job. i want to thank each of you for your testimony this morning. so as tradition, we will call members as they have come to participate with the committee and committee staff.
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there is list, all of you are very patient and wasn'ting for your opportunity to ask questions and make commitments. i will begin as the chair, recognizing myself for five minutes, and then refer to the ranking member for his five minutes. and then we will alternate as is tradition, democrat, republican, democrat, republican, until all the members of the subcommittee have had an opportunity, and the full committee that are participating to exercise the time available to them. as i mentioned previously, climate change obviously impacts not only regions of our country, but regions of the world, given weather patterns and geographies. so we continue to learn more each day on how we mitigate the impacts of these climate change. my first question is to mr. medeiros. as a producer, you, it's noted
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are stewards of the land, you and your family, and you have made many changes in terms of your dairy operation. what usda tools or programs do you think have been most critical in helping you accomplish these goals in reducing greenhouse gases, and nitrate issues with your water? and how can we improve those efforts in next year's farm bill? >> well, great question, jim. and i am going to go back in history a little bit. i was actually -- 2005, i had applied for an nrcs grant. and put together -- probably one of the first nutrient management programs on my dairy at that time. so i was one of the first dairies to do that. right at first, climate change, and none of that was on the radar yet.
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well, through that nrcs program i was able to implement a nutrient management program and started to see the benefits of being able to move manure in a more efficient way across my farm and able to capture those benefits on my farm from a methane reduce -- reducing my methane output and being able to utilize that nutrient management program on my crops and better utilize that. you know, funding through nrcs, equip programs, those are all extremely valuable tools for producers today. and going forward, you know, we need that funding to continue because, you know, one shoe doesn't fit all. we have got to remember that digesters will not end up on every dairy because it's just not economically feasible. but there are so many other thing we can do in our industry, through manure management and through technology we figured out ways to move manure, separate manure and apply manure
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so much more efficient today and utilize those benefits on our farms. with collaborating with nrcs and the equip programs those do it the resources where we can do it on a volunteer basis and address all the climate changes that we are facing. >> eye might have to come out and see some of the changes that you made there. let's try to schedule that soon. ms. burroughs, you talked about being the front line of climate change as farmers is in sustainable practices that have made your farm more resilient. how do you think they can be scaled up on a larger basis as we look at, again, next year's farm bill? you are muted here, rosie? >> okay. thank you. okay. before i answer your good question, i wanted to first compliment all the others that have testified and thank them for those wonderful comments. i especially liked kim because
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we are in -- we have been a ranching family for over a century as well. in terms of all the different programs that are available and the practices that we are using, they are all part of the solution. but the first thing that has to happen is education. so, research and education are the most important things to have these practices work throughout the nation. and it isn't a cookie cutter. so what works in one particular area may not work in another. but these practices can be implemented across the nation. i think that the one thing that has to change is our paradigm of feeding cows. our cows, both dairy and beef, are grazers. and i believe that god created the symbiotic relationship
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between cows, grass, and the sun. and i -- i -- i think that depending on what your certain farm or ranch is, every one of these practices that we talked about can all be implemented. and it's through education. >> we appreciate that. and finally, ms. -- dr. stackhouse lawson, you talked in your testimony about trying to develop ways to more accurately measure issues of emissions and develop strateies that, in fact, can achieve goals of reducing those emissions. how do you think we best fund that effort at quantifying our data in ways that are meaningful as we try to improve our impacts as it relates to emissions? and what is your university and
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other universities doing together? i think we need to be combining resources, frankly, as we try to achieve these goals. >> yeah. absolutely. so i think when we really think about measuring greenhouse gases from these systems and actually trying to quantify the gas, it's really complicated, right? we know of course methane is produced from -- systems. they belch that meth achblt it is a natural process of the animal's di jegs. we know based on diet they will have different amounts. but the challenge that we have had as scientists is that our methods that we use to measure these things up until very recently we had to put animals in chambers or their heads in
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respiration with head box -- very tame animals, but we would encapsulate their heads so we could understand emissions or put them in whole animal chambers. when we do that, it changes the animal's behavior and their desire to eat. they continue to eat, it's -- but they are not eating as much. and so we believe that a more accurate representation of the -- what the animal is actually emitting in their production environment is very important. and the other thing we don't understand is how does that change. right? so how is it different on kim's ranch in the forages that she has available in idaho versus what rosie has and the forages that they are grazing animals are consuming? and generally, we think that there may even basketball differences, right? so the levers that kim may be
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able to pull on brackett ranches to reduce entark emissions or reduce nitrogen emissions may be different than the levers that rosary can pull easily. we need to understand those baseline emissions and also how solutions can be applied in a way that is place based. we have heard that over and over and over again, right, a one size fits all approach doesn't work in animal agriculture systems. and how do we balance -- i think this is a really good point, how do we balance knowing everything that we possibly can, because that's also not reasonable. that's an unreasonable expectation. with the amount of knowledge that we need to move forward with the most appropriate strategies. to answer your question about other universities, we have a new program that has started. we are developing strategic partnerships with other institutions that have
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complimentary facilities to ours -- actually, different facilities to ours. one example would be we are setting up a green feed platform where we will have six green feeds in what we are going to call climate smart pins. but we are partnering with texas tech who has the head box chambers or partner with davis who has the more full animal chamber approach. and i do believe that we also need to be very smart and not duplicating these very precious resources and really work together to develop. >> doctor, i think your comments are well taken. my time is more than expired but i wanted to make sure that we got an opportunity to get the academic perspective in here. i really do believe as we look toward -- money is always a challenge as we try to provide ample resources but that we combine our resources in ways that make sense through the academic -- incredible academic
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resource that we have in this country on a regional basis. so without further ado, my friends and ranking member of the subcommittee, dusty johnson, it's your opportunity here with your five minutes. look forward the hearing your questions and comments. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and just great witnesses. really, really, a top-notch panel. you can tell how much they agree on. these are just -- these are happy, optimistic solutions focused people who want to make the world a better place. they have all done a great job. i will start with dr. stackhouse lawson, and then we will go to ms. brackett kind of with a similar set of questions. i thought your testimony, doctor, did a good job of talking about the progress that we have made as well as some of the ambitious proactive goals that our country has on a go-forward basis. and in that -- we want to feed the world. we want to do so sustainably. in that kinds of a landscape, it seems that we should be doing
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everything we can to have american producers feed even more of the world because we do it better, sustainably. i feel like so often these producers have a target on their back rather than being viewed as the solution. just sort of your reactions about that? >> i think one of the things that i didn't mention in the testimony but is really important is that sustainability has a triple bottom line approach, right of environmental, social, and economic. and we need to take that into account as we are thinking about nutrition globally. but the other thing that i didn't mention that sustainability has is an emotional element. right? so when people think about the way that they define sustainability and what may be most important to them, emotions play a role in that. and some of the perceptions that exist around our production systems today are challenging.
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and in some ways align with the science that we know, and in others don't. so i think -- i think representative johnson it is a -- it's very challenging. i think our farmers and ranchers should be commented for the incredible work that they have done. but this sort of target on their back unfortunately oftentimes makes it difficult for i think all of the great minds that we have that could come together to really identify collaborative solutions moving forward. and i very much agree with you that those collaborative solutions are necessary and that our farmers and ranchers should be part of those conversations because at the ends of the day they are the boots on the ground that will mitigate the impact. >> listen, tell me if i am looking at this two simplistically. sometimes elected officials do that. if we really care about -- i
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think people are making it seem as though producers need to do less, fewer of that kind of production or less of that type of production when in reality if we care about sustainability a really effective solution would be to ask the american producers to do even more to help feed the world. >> right. and i think -- i think we will get there. you described some of the technology south dakota state is implementing on ranching technologies. i am equality excited. could we with a phone app move cattle to a place on the ranch at the right time the forage is growing and optimize the landscape and the nutrition and also minimize that impact, right? because then you could move them off potentially during -- you know, if there is perhaps a migrant bird that needs to nest in that particular environment. right? so our ability to move virtual fences without building fence --
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it is phenomenal. and the opportunity to get even more utilization off of landscapes but enhance the landscape i think is very real. and i think technology is only going to enhance that for us. i think at the same time we have to be very cognizant of the fact that measurements to continually benchmark ourselves and then document improvement will continue to be important. >> thanks, dock. i have got 50 seconds left, ms. brackett, it is yours. any observations? >> i would concur with what the doctor has said. i think, to add on to that i would go back to your comments about the efficiency of the u.s. beef production system. you know, cattle are upcyclers. i think sometimes people don't recognize that most cattle ranches exist on land that's considered marginal. it can't grow crops for human consumption. so cattle go ahead in there and
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graze that grass that's not human edible and they convert it into a highly nutritious protein for americans. i think that's really important. when we talk about cattle diet, they also consume a lot of our human food waste that would otherwise go into a landfill. they are definitely upcyclers in several signaturements of our industry. >> well said. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman always for his good question and -- up cyclers, i like that term, ms. brackett. i will have to remember that. it's not one that i have used. but our next member to be recognized is the gentlewoman from virginia, my friend, ms. abigail spanberger. representative spanberger you are recognized. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. thank you chairman, costa, i am thrilled we are having this hearing on livestock and
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conservation today. i am the chairwoman of the conservation and forestry subcommittee. i know our producers across the country and particularly in virginia are the real conservationists. i am also excited about today's hearing because of the large presence of livestock producers in virginia, many of whom are actively engaged in u.s.r usda conservation programs. in december i hosted usda leaders in my district in virginia to meet with livestock producers and i heard directly from cattlemen and small processors about their most pressing needs. mentioned the investment to keep them kpet any in the global ago community. it was a great way to focus on these programs and the value they have to our producers. one way our producers stay competitive is by bringing conservation practices into their day to day operations. that's why i am proud to sponsor
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an act with my colleague congressman bay on korngs it touches on every aspect of agriculture including livestock and would help producers receive revenue resources for the climate smart practices they are already embracing. the bill is supported by nearly every major modern farm group, many major environmental groups and several fortune 500 companies because it makes sense. notably, the bill passed the united states senate with 92 senators voting in favor of it. it continues the stun me that the house of representatives failed the act on a bill that garner he is so much support. it is crucial for the farmers, rural communities and health of our planet, particularly the farmers in virginia advocating for it. it is long past type. thank you for allowing me that moment. mr. medeiros, i have a question about your testimony. you mentioned current usda
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programs haven't focused enough on manure and feed management. that's key to sustainability related to dairy production. i heard we really need more experts on conservation practices and innovation specifically related to livestock. could you perhaps share your experience in what you have experienced and provide us with any sort of feedback on what that looks like from your perspective? >> sure. dr. stackhouse talked a little bit about different feeds and knowing how that ruin is going to react to the different feeds and what it is actually emitting. in the dairy sector in southern california, 40% of your rations are by products. through those by products we really don't know how much emission reductions we are getting through those by products. so the question is still out there. and at uc davis there has been a lot of studies done on oil based
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additives, plant based additives and how that is working in reducing emissions. we need more funding to go into that category. then we need less restrictions from fda when they took a look at those additives. because they are looking at that as an antibiotic, and having to go through that process, it's come up bettersome. it takes a long time. and time is of the essence, right? and some of that stuff we need to streamline that process. >> some of the additives that you are talking about being compared or judged as antibiotics would, some of them are kind of natural plant based; isn't that correct? >> absolutely. absolutely. they are either oil based or plant based. one of them was seaweed. right? when we look at these options, we need to streamline that process, and we need to actually put more funding towards that because companies when they start taking a look at the process, they are not willing to invest, right? it's taking too long. it's too expensive. so those are the avenues,
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because we have to remember, 45% of emissions come from a cow is entearic. >> yep. >> we have to remember especially in the dairy sector not everybody is going to be able to put a digester. if we can target 45% of those emissions on the entark basis it is extremely valuable. >> thank you. the reap improvement act would expand eligible to the program to include agricultural producer cooperatives that want to meet the high demand for the program by increasing available cost share particularly as relates to digesters. i am running out of time but i will be following up with questions for record for dr. stackhouse lawson related to the reap program and what additional access might look like particularly for livestock producers and our dairy industry. so thank you so much, mr. chairman, for this fantastic hearing and thank you to all of our witness for your work and
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knowledge you brought to us today. >> thank you very much representative spamberger and your focus with your own subcommittee on how we can clap gate together with evers on conservation. i think next year's farm bill is i think critical for all of us in terms of working with america's livestock industry to achieve even better results. our next witness is ranking member of the subcommittee. i introduced him once before i don't think i need to introduce him won't. my friend representative thompson from pennsylvania. need to unmic, gt. >> jim, thank you so much. thank you to you, and our ranking member for assembling such a outstanding panel. i could listen to these people
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all day long. these are the vice voices we need to have as we prepare for the farm bill. in this space of sustainability, climate, wheel many climates made major climate commitments they oftentimes are struggling to find ways to achieve their goals and achieve them in meaningful ways that are effective with -- aligned with their goal. despite having significant financial resources. simultaneously, usda conservation programs -- and i would put our agriculture committee at the forefront of that because we have authorized what it is that usda in the conservation space specifically, those conservation programs are oversubscribed, and agriculture producers have difficulty accessing these vital programs. for these reasons i introduced the sustains act which would allow usda to accept and match
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donated right funds to stretch the federal dollar. the idea is that the third parties could really be able to demonstrate their climate credentials. they can be climate champions by when they directly partner with usda to fund conservation projects, more conservation projects and expand those through the existing programs. i think in terms of land based solutions we see that the documentation shows that overall our farmers, ranchers, foresters, sequester 6.1 giga tons of carbon annually. greenhouse gas emissions. research goes to show that sequesters every bit that's emitted plus an additional little over 10% which is very exciting. it shows that our farmers, ranchers, foresters are climate heroes of the but we can do better because we know that there is new innovations,
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because agriculture -- american agriculture is science and technology and innovation. i want to start with mr. meyer or whoever would like to respond. i am curious, do you see a value in a concept where we form a private/public partnership between organizations of all sizes, not just large corporations but small mom and pop businesses that with like to get their climate champion credentials could help us fund additional conservation programs? do you see any value in that concept? we appreciate your insights. >> this is rosie burroughs. and i would like to share that i think it's an outstanding idea. and we need all hands on deck, all feet working towards solving our problems. so any and everything working towards the good of our -- and i would like to change it not just to sustainability, but to viability. and it's about the health of our
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planet. thank you. >> thank you. any other thoughts on that kinds of approach, a public/private approach to expanding our conservation program so we may have programs through the usda? >> legislation could be helpful, but one thing to keep in mind is that the programs are built for producers. so that means the underlying usda conservation programs must be accessible to poultry producers and provide environmental requirements to drive results towards goals per dollar invested and we are supportive of those practices and technologies. >> i agree with you. we need to look at the program so that all of our producers are benefiting. whether we are talking crops, trees, or livestock. so -- because they all have something to offer, tremendous forces for good for the economy and for the environment. >> if i could add, i love the
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notion of this private/public partnership idea and i truly believe that that's where our solutions are going to come in & those tangible outcomes are going to be made available. if i could just provide just a few things that i think if you could add. the ability to actually measure the outcome that we have achieved i think would be really powerful. right? so if we have these climate champions, and they could say they have reduced x amount of tons or they have helped sequester x amount of tons i think that that would be really helpful for a lot of these more corporate strategies. the other thing that i might encourage is, certainly climate -- i love the sort of name of climate champion with you it also might be interesting to also measure the improvements in water holding capacity and soil health more broadly, and even biodiversity in the soil.
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right? because i think we see all of these really phenomenal wins, wins, wins, wins. i think that's where value lice as well. >> absolutely. thank you to the panel. chairman, thank you for convening this. i yield back. >> you are welcome. and the gentleman is always appreciated, his participation. and dr. stackhouse lawson, we appreciate your enthusiasm. we need more of that. i hope it spreads to -- i know many of the members' subcommittees certainly are expressing their enthusiasm as relates to today's hearing. our next representative, my friend from connecticut, who is very focused on these issues, representative hayes. please, you have five minutes. >> thank you chairman, and thank you for having this hearing
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today. conanswers if i have district is a hot bed of sustainable livestock farming. there are countless farmers from my district who operate small dairy farms withl focus on sustainable and organic agriculture. one example is animal farms. they are part of hazon, a national organization which advocates for agricultural and environmentally sustainability in connection with the jewish faith. then there is laurel brook farm, a fourth generation 1100 cow dairy farm which makes sustainability center of their practices by composting manure and reselling the product as organic fertilizer to the local community. the owner of laurel brook is kristen jackier, he's also the chairman of the agri mark care dairy key operative n. connecticut, rather than treating sustainability as an
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afterthought, our farmers know that good stewardship over our land and environment must be central the all agricultural practices. however, connecticut family farms are struggling. consolidation in the dairy industry hit us hard leaving connecticut with fewer than 100 remaining dairy farms, having lost nearly 200 in the past decade. my questions today are for ms. burroughs. given that you run a diversified sustainable farm similar to those in my district can you share details about the effect of consolidation on the uptake of sustainable practices flout the livestock sector? specifically, what are the implications that larger operations pose for the adoption of sustainability measures? >> thank you representative hayes for the question. it is -- i think it's the key to our future to have the ranchers and farmers and grazers that are
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able to utilize their farms and ranches in way that protects the environment and brings health to the planet. there are more microbes in one teaspoon of healthy soil than there are people on the planet. and these microbes with the symbiotic relationship between animal grazing and the land -- they create the water infiltration system that refelony plentyishes the aquifers when it does rain. when we lose a farmer to his farm or land because of consolidation or because efficiency in bigger more carpet type of farms, we have lost our farms and ranchers forever. they will not ever get an opportunity to come back. we ourselves have had two grass-based organic dairies.
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and they were the premier grazing dairies that worked beautifully. and we can show you all the research and the good things about it. but the economic -- and i like what kim said. the economic viability did not work because we do not have an equal playing field when the nop has not enforced the pasture rule uniformly across the nation. and congress has directed the n.o.p. to publish the final rule on origin of livestock. but the n.o.p. has not done that. so number one, we need an equal playing field so that those of us that are using grazing practices can be rewarded by the consumers who support -- and businesses that support our type of farming, that is bringing benefits to the planet and health to all people. from the birds in the air to the
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microbes in the soil. thank you. >> thank you, ms. burroughs. i am smiling because my next question was how would vitalizing the n.o.p. help organic farmers avoid similar outcomes than the one you experienced with your organic farms. and you led right into it because it is all connected. exactly what you have just talked about is what i am hearing from small farmers in connecticut. our landscape in my district is just outlying and created by the farmers, their investments in the communities, what they do for neighbors, for our schools, our agri science programs. and it would be devastating for connecticut's fifth district for these farmers to not be sustainable and for us to continue to lose at the rate we have been losing. thank you for your work in this area and for your thoughtful comments. mr. chair, that's all i have. i yield back. >> i thank the gentlewoman from connecticut for your comments and your insight.
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our next member is the gentleman from indiana, representative jim baird, who represents the fourth congressional district, i believe. good to have you involved, my friend. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and ranking member. i really want to add my appreciation to all the witnesses here today. the expertise they bring to this committee is really beneficial to our ability to make decisions we talk about the farm bill. you know, we have heard several people mention not only the witnesses but committee members talk about the significant improvement that agriculture has made in almost 50 years, 70 years, of 287% increase with very little change in the kinds of inputs that we put into agriculture. so i am really glad that we are
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giving farmers and ranchers the credit they deserve for all the conservation efforts and the things that are important to maintaining our environment. and you know, the things -- there are many things i would love to talk about, like soil health, grazing management, nutrient management, feed additives, methane digesters. i will maybe i will have a chance to get to some of those. but one area that we haven't talked about, i am not sure how much interest some people have, but i am very excited about biotech, and the potential that these technologies will have in benefitting the environment and not only the environment but the human and animal health and the world's demand for sustainability-produced protein. so these technologies can begin in the cattle and dairy industry with researchers and companies
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developing gene he haditied traits for heat tolerance and creating cattle that are better able to regulate body temperature during periods of heat stress than non-slick cattle and helping them maintain productivity. mr. medeiros, i want to start with you. and then ms. brackett will follow up. can you touch on your respective industry's view to the benefits of biotech in all of this discussion? >> absolutely. and being a representative from indiana, you see a lot of the biotech in seeds and crop rotations and we see it out west also. and the benefits it brings to the environment. from an animal aspect, i will share a little story with you. i am a dire hole steen guy that has changed his mind. let me elaborate on that. we talk about heat tolerance and
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all that. i have switched to jersey breeds on one of my farms. and one of the things i notice is the tolerance that they have to heat. is much greater than a hole -- holiday steen, their foot print on the environment is less than the holiday steen. we have found through our own research on our own farm the benefits of just changing the breed, how it has impacted our footprint on the environment. it is little things like that. then we will take it as far as -- into crop rotation on biotech corn and tolerance to droughts. you know, we know all about droughts out here in california. sustainability goes anywhere from emissions from that cow to water, right? and we want to -- we want to encompass all of that in our operations. so we take a look at all of that in our provisions. that's some of the stuff we address in our operation is breeds, and of course our crop
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rotations. >> well thank you very much for that insight. very informative information there. ms. brackett, would you care to address that same concern? >> certainly. thank you representative baird. i would definitely echo mr. medeiros's comments on breed selection. it is critical in the cattle industry that you match the breed to the climate that you live in, the region of the country that you are in. i would say that's probably the first -- might be an old school technology but an important one for us. in the cattle industry another important biotech would be feed additives. we talked a lot about feed additives to reduce methane emissions. there is research going on in that area. we when talk about technology in the cattle industry we talk broader than biotech. we have need for -- representative johnson mentioned his precision grazing technology. that's also really exciting to us. finally i would mention we need
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to be spending this time on updating our emissions science getting that baseline and understanding where we need to go from here. >> thank you very much. i see my time is almost up. and i don't think the chairman will give me any more time. i have all kinds of questions. i would enjoy visiting with all of you for the rest of the day. but thank you. i yield back. >> the gentleman is always welcomed, and certainly, you will have an opportunity, as all members of the committee do, to submit further questions to your witnesses. i agree with you, as others have stated we have a great group of witnesses here today. and not enough time for all of us to ask additional questions we would like to ask. our next member is the gentlewoman from iowa's third district. another friend, representative cindy axne. you are recognized for five
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minutes, representative axne. >> thank you chairman costa. thank you to our witnesses for being here today. rep baird you and i always seem to be on the same pathway of questions. maybe you will get more answers from some of my questions. since i came to congress i have been supportive of agriculture practices for our farmers. in iowa, our family farmers are the original conservationist and their kids literally depend on them doing so. we know also that consumers are becoming more increasingly aware and interested in how their food is being grown, where it is coming from, how sustainable it is, all of that. i was recently out in council bluffs iowa with second bill sock, we were at a producer's shop matter of fact. the owners told us they were meeting this demand by providing information to their consumers on where their beef comes from, from farm to table. it was cool to talk to their kids who have put together
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this -- qr codes where they track every animal, and then their customers can see from birth to table what that animal has been up to. so they are really looking for they things. i think our young farmers and producer are ready to be at the table with this. while our family farmers have continually been more fish and sustainable over these last few decades, though, this market trend will provide more opportunities for farmers who are on the cutting edge of sustainable and further incentivize those who want to do more. as we look forward to this upcoming farm bill congress needs to be investing in more reseniors towards conservation programs for research, technical assistance, et cetera. we need our farmers to be able to take advantage of this growing market to help our country reduce its emissions. my first question is to you, dr. stackhouse lawson. in your testimony you reference numerous research gaps limited funding and other challenges in improving your sustain
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. in your view, what is the most pressing research need? and how would that research help our producers? >> thank you for the question. really establishing appropriate baselines for green house gas emission asks the kay way that cattle are raised today in my opinion is what is needed right now. we have modelled this for a very long time of course using emissions data. but the actual absolute emissions that we use to factor, create those emission factors are based on data from past equipment. right? so putting those animals in respiration chambers or whole animal chambers. i am worried we are not getting accurate baseline emissions from the types of cattle that we have today. what that will also allow us to do is begin to -- i am very exciting about this, and was inspired by the previous question as well -- begin to potentially geno type animals that actually might have less
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methane emissions even on the same diet. right? i think there is there is just such a gap in sort of our actual knowledge of what these annals ma doing in their natural environments, what animals are performing better. i have the questions are the efficiency metrics we are using today, are they the right ones? is there another efficiency metric a nutrient efficient lee metric we missed because we haven't had that technology or those resources at our fingertips? as this technology catches up and, and we are hopeful that even technology from measuring methane emissions from the oil and gas industry could retranslate some of that. how -- you know, i think we are very close. i think we are very close to it catching up. just really being that database would be my recommendation as a really good starting place. >> as somebody who comes from the world of strategy baseline numbers are the most important
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pete to start with. if we don't even have that then we need to put effort towards that i appreciate you bringing that up. ms. burroughs you stated that management in grazing is the key to the future. expand on that. what benefits have you seen on your farm. you mentioned you needed a level playing field. what specific challenges do you think are most important to address for producers in adopting that practice? >> thank you for the question. there is three kinds of areas that i will hit. in regards to the n.o.p. making their final rule on the origin of livestock rule, that is in reference to grazing animals in the dairy sector. in terms of grazing beef out on the ranged land, there are -- there is lots of research and many holestic programs on management intensive grazing. what we found -- what i said earlier in our testimony, 40
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years ago, we didn't know what we didn't know, is that god created a perfect universe. and if we work with mother nature in the cycle of the seasons and adapting like what was said earlier, the cattle to the environment of what you have, whether you are in a mountain range or a desert area, those are all the decisions that need to be made to be made and viable of grazing your animals. we also graze sheep. and sheep are an animal that our country has sort of left behind. but sheep are a wonderful grazer. we are using them in our orchards. what we have found is that when we integrate grazing into our farming systems of our orchards, we are finding that that relationship is completely -- has so many benefits.
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i would love to write a more detailed answer to that as time has been limited, but i can say that when things are in cycle and animals' manure goes into the soil and is utilized you are not going to have problems with nitrate concentration from grain-fed animals that are in a concentrated form. in my view right now, our whole food system is broken. we have gone to cheap food. we have gone to food that's imported. we need to take care of our american farmer rancher first. buy local. buy organically grazed grown meat. we know that the clas and all the benefits in the health of the meat that's on grazing animals is so much more important for our health and fighting cancer. i would love to write a more detailed answer to that.
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but i just think working with mother nature is the relationship of what we all need to be striving to do because when we are in sink then we are able to reduce all of those greenhouse gas, all the -- store carbon in the soil and hold water in and recharge our aquifers. we planted rows of hedge rows throughout all of our farms for beneficials -- >> rosie? >> yep. okay. i will finish it off in a written testimony. thank you. >> and we both appreciate representative axne's and rosie, our theus yach as the chair person of soils caucus. we need to bring you back.
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i have never seen such enthusiasm for soils. we will continue in that vein. next member, representative from iowa, again, fourth congressional district. the gentleman is very focused on these issues, representative feenstra. >> thank you chairman costa and representative johnson. and thanks for everybody's testimony. it is amazing to hear everything, their thoughts on what we can do together. in iowa the livestock industry has a great story to tell when it comes the sustainability. across the iowa community farmers are producing more while using less. our hogg producers are using 75% less land and 25% less water compared to six decades ago. dairy forms are the lowest -- of all of our dairy farmers. -- also producing 60% more beef from animal from 1961 to 2018. through these technologies, the
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livestock industry has achieved these golden globes, and it is through technology that we continue to make improvements into the future. one technology that advanced the industry into greater sustainability is feed additives. mr. medeiros and ms. bracket, you shared how these allowed the sector to reduce methane emissions. i share your concerns that the regulatory red tape is preventing timely market availability for these ingredients. according to a study i informa economics it takes three or five years for a feed ingredient to be reviewed. why is it important that the food and drug administration streamline this review and approval process? and what legislative proposals do you encourage congress related to this issue, mr. medeiros? >> okay, well first of all we need to separate the feed
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additives from the antibiotic category. so we can start fast forwarding what we know so far and promote research. and to get this on a fast track. that's probably the one thing that's really hindering feed additives today. and then we need to spend more time and investment into that category because i think there is a lot more research that needs to be done in that category before we can understand it. i mean dr. stackhouse lawson touched upon it a little bit. so fda needs to really -- take look at the protocol on feed additives so we can pursue that at a much more rapid rate and push that forward of that's my opinion on that. and i think it's something that congress really needs the take a look at. >> ms. brackett do you have any thoughts on that? >> yes, thank you, representative, i appreciate the question. i think it is important to focus on innovation. having support for research and
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innovation as opposed to regulation would be something that we are very much in favor of. investing in research that's going to help producers be more solutions oriented i think could be the collaborative goal that worry all driving to akyiv here. especially iffer with talking about feed additives, more research in that arena, supporting innovation so we can be technologically advanced and achieve our climate goals, absolutely. >> thank you for those comments. i have got another question. dr. stackhouse lawson, i said i sit on the science space and technology committee and i passed a resolution to -- this amendment ensures that animal -- databases are included in initiatives allowing data access that focus on animal biotechnology and genetic modification. how do you see biotechnology fitting into the overall strategy for meeting food
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demands in our growing population and to achieve our sustainability goals? >> thank you for the question. i am certainly not an expert in that area but i think when we think about really achieving sustainability goals, so much of the progress to date has been made through an enhanced efficiencies. yes, we have to do more. right? there has to be more than those enhanced efficiencies. but we also need to develop technologies and tools to even streamline the efficiencies. right? so i think any access to data and technology to help do more with less, to help our producers have more appropriate tools that can work on their individual operations but still drive to these bigger goals that we have is where we all need to think about innovating. and you know, the beautiful thing about sustainability, and frankly climate is that any improvements we make, right, help. and they may not help as much as we think we want them to.
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but they still help. i think those efforts are warranted. >> i agree. and the reality is, our livestock industry has voluntary adapted sustainability practices which i am so excited about. with that, my time is ended. thank you. and i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. and we thank, again, our witnesses. our next member is my friend, representative bobby rush from illinois's first congressional district. we appreciate congress member rush's participation. he represents the heart of one of america's urban areas, but yet understands the importance of american agriculture and the role that it plays. and that will be followed by representative barry moore from alabama. bobby, you are next up. >> i certainly want to thank you, mr. chairman, this has been a very, very informative
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hearing. and i thank you for it. i want to thank you a moment to welcome, if i might, mr. meyer, who is here with us today from my hometown, chicago. and mr. medeiros, i have a question for you. i am looking forward to ways to expands ag coops to urban areas. and i believe that their structure and their mission uniquely empowers producers in a variety of ways. and i know that this is not the topic of today's hearing, but i wanted to take the purpose and
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opportunity and hope that you could briefly discuss some of the bess practices that you have witnesses as a member of the national milk producers federations committee and if you could particularly inform me about the presence that you have seen that could help -- the practices that you have seen that could help coops expand into new sectors such as you are ban areas. mr. medeiros, will you respond? >> history about myself. i used to be an independent producer at one time and learned the value of a co-op. co-ops bring such a tremendous value to american agriculture. the resources that a co-op can
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bring to producers as far as -- i will speak upon dfa, being the largest dairy co-op in the united states and i believe the fourth largest milk processor in the world. the resources that coops bring to producers, through a co-op we have our farm service program, we have our innovation programs. and we ops bring such a value to agriculture clear across the united states whether you are a corn grower, a beef producer, dairy industry, it is a vital component of producers and having the ability to use coops to reach out to people, educate people, and bring resources back to the farmer. and we were independent. as an independent producer, you don't get those same resources. i think coops is probably one of the most valuable tools in today's agriculture. hopefully it keeps growing and expanding. that way we can touch even the cities and be able to touch city
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farmers and the city population understands the value that a co-op can bring to producers and all of society through all the assets and who we touch in the industry. >> i certainly would like to engage in this conversation more with you because, again, i am absolutely committed to the idea and the potential of trying to create a unity of will, a unity of spirit, and a unity of understanding in terms of the whole co-op sector of our society. so thank you very much. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you very much, representative rush. and our next members n the order that the staff has provided me, is representative barry moore from alabama's second congressional district, to be
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followed by representative sanford bishop from georgia's second. mr. moore, the floor is yours. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we have heard a lot of talk about graze asking cattle. mr. meyer, i want to talk a little bit about the poultry industry. that's a big thing in our part of the world and huge in agriculture in alabama. you focused a lot of your testimony in terms of working on measurement. in the national council broiler sustainability report last year in ten years they reduced land use by 13%, water con consums by 13% and fossil fuel use by 22%. can you expand on this and what do you attribute these gains to? >> the poultry industry has made incredible strides over the past decade and has been a shrining light in agriculture industry in that space. the u.s. round table for sustainable poultry and eggs we are really focused on getting a
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baseline measurement in a broader aspect of -- every node of the supply chain involved in that sustainability conversation. so we've involved producers, integrators, allied industry as well as ngos and restaurants in building our frame work. the framework was completed in december. this year, we are going to launch -- we are going to launch the tool that we will use and it will be an online tool. that way, all of these nodes can input their aspects of sustainability measurements into that. and we will a good baysline across the full supply chain from producer all way to customer of what our sustainability looks like in the u.s. poultry and egg industry. for an example, one of those metrics one of those metrics might health care like would be energy use. every producer is monitoring their energy use. they receive an election tlik
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bill, electricity bill, natural gas bill. they can put it into the system and they will know where they stand and what they are measuring. when we again rate all of our data and we will have our final reports that we will release once we have the tool launched, that producer will then be able to benchmark where they are amongst other producers and the industry itself. then they can set targets for themselves and others to continue rulely improve in that space and know they are doing their part to provide a sustainable future for the poultry and egg industry. >> i am sure looking down the road we hope to continue these trends. what efforts do you see -- is there anything you would like to expand on? one quick question, the digesters to create energy. i don't know if you had seen much of that in this industry. we had people testing that in different parts of the world but to maintain the family farms, the poultry farm is the cash
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flow. what efforts do you think we need to expand on going forward in the near future. >> i think the efforts that we need to expand on in the future for the family farmers, for the poultry producers to make access. to usda funds and resources programs that are out there. i think those are the opportunities for those family producers, and those family farms that they need to access to, and the technology, and the funds to be able the access those technologies, as you referenced earlier. >> okay. and thank you, mr. meyer, i appreciate that. mr. chairman w that, i would yield back. >> all right. thank you, the gentleman from alabama. we always appreciate when you add time to the committee's portfolio. that is good. the next gentleman is another friend, sanford bishop from georgia's second congressional
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district. and for the witnesses testifying here, we all have very valuable members of this subcommittee that play different roles in the house of representatives. but my friend, representative bishop has got the distinction of being one of the cardinals. and so he chairs the subcommittee on house appropriations that handles the agricultural budget for the usda. so he becomes very valuable. he is one of the important members that not only focuses on the policy house issues in the house ag committee but on the budgetal issues on the house appropriations committee that handlings the subcommittee for the usda's budget. so he's a key person that we should all be talking to. representative bishop. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. and them thank you for this hearing today. the witnesses are extraordinary
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and they have been very enlightening. i have got two questions. and the first one i would like to direct to ms. burroughs. when i think of sustainability in the livestock sector, i think about will harris of white oak pastures in my district noun in georgia. he has been recognized throughout the state of georgia and the nation, and even globally, for his impeccable stewardship. he often says that sustainability isn't enough. agriculture has to be regenerative. ms. burroughs, you characterized your family's farming practice as regenerative. tell us how that applies to systems applied on your farms. white oaks is in a small community, it is the largest private employer in clay county. it has 113 people, and the county itself has only about 2800 people. but will harris employs 185
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people, and he writes $100,000 in paychecks every friday. so as an advocate of regenerative agriculture, what are some of the economic benefits that you receive from adopting the climate smart management practices? and my second question is for the panel at large. and basically, it addresses scaleable solutions. the potential benefits of community scale meat processing are very broad. and these types of operations that have a smaller environmental footprint, they are more flexible and able to respond to changing conditions and keep money in the local agriculture community. tell us how congress can ensure that investments in local and regional meat processing infrastructure supports the expansion of small community-scale processes that will support environmentally and
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socially responsible practices. >> thank you. i so appreciate you mentioning will. he is a friend of ours. we spoke together at berkeley several years ago. we also shared the lea poeld award in 2020. he is an outstanding person that is leading our industry in grazing and viability. all i can say is when you -- our whole food system and the way we produce food is a broken system. in my opinion. and i believe that regenerative practices are not only the key to our survival as a planet and all the people on it with health. but it's also the way to keep farmers and ranchers on their land so they are providing the food that we need for this planet and protecting our environment.
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i'm just going to jump over to meat processing because that is the number one necessity that woe need to have local regional processing plants for beef, poultry, or whatever other meats that we need. we have very few that are usda inspected plants that we can use or take our animals to. so i will let others answer as well. but thank you for bringing up the regenerative practices i listed them on my written testimony. and i tried to expand on why regenerative is so important. but all life starts in the soil. and all health starts in the soil. when we are using regenerative practices we are not only creating the best nutrient dense food in either crops or animals, but we are also doing the best we can for storing carbon, protecting our environment. >> thank you.
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>> with that -- smile thank you. the scaleable solution is important the me because i would like to know what we can do to help encourage the local and the regional processing infrastructure. >> that's outstanding. >> be economically beneficial. quickly for the 40 seconds that are left, if anybody else could comment on that, i would appreciate it. >> representative, i would be happy to address your question about meat processing. we have definitely a need in the cattle industry to increase packing capacity. so very excited about all of the smaller and mid-sized processing facilities that are coming on line. we are concerned that they will be sustainable, that we will have them in the future, that we will be able to keep them in business. i would say that -- i would echo what rosie said w the lack of inspection, not having usda inspected facilities really limits how we are able to sell
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our beef, especially across state lines. >> thank you. that means we needs to strengthen the inspection edgeim. thank you very much. i think my time is expired mr. chairman. i thank you for the hearing. and thank you to all the witnesses. you have been incredible. >> i know the chairman of the subcommittee on appropriations might be able to help us with dealing with getting more inspectors. that's something we ought to work on. any time you want to talk about enthusiasm on soils, talk to rosie. our next member is the gentleman from kansas, congressional district one, representative tracy mann. and then that will be followed by representative chellie pingree from maine. unless we see any members of the subcommittee returning and members of -- those witnesses
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who have been so patient and so good today, the reason you see members come and go is because we have overlapping other committees that we are dealing with. so it's not because they are lacking of intention -- of attention fosse your comments or your testimony, but we are multitasking here. so oftentimes members are coming in and going back to other committees as well. just so you understand how we try to make this system as efficient as we possibly can. representative mann from kansas, you are on. >> great. chairman costa, thanks for recognizing me. thanks for the time. and thank you for having this hearing. to all the panelists and the testimony you submitted, everything is really appreciated. also thank you to ranking member johnson. i agreed with the comments he made during his question period, and appreciated the back and forth in the conversation he had with you, ms. stackhouse lawson. i represent the first district
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of kansas. we call the big first. it is the largest beef producing district in the country by dollar amount, we have a lot of feed yards, packing plants, cow calf operations. i grew up on a preon conditioning feed yard, which is what our family has always done. so a handful of questions. first for you, ms. brackett. i agree with you in your testimony, and the usda research that you cited explaining that cattle are not truly significant contributors to long-term global warming that cattle producers actually help reduce other sorts of emissions through various practices. but the story woe often hear in the media paints the opposite image. in your opinion, where is the disconnect? and how do we change the public discourse? how do we kind of reshape the public's image of production agriculture and these issues? >> thank you, representative. i appreciate that question. i think this disconnect has
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happened slowly over several years as people have left rural areas and moved to more urban and suburban areas. there is a loss of historical knowledge about what's what guess on on farms and ranches and really truly how cattle are actually raised. that leaves consumers in this country not having a strong foundation when they may hear misperceptions in the news. we are letting other people drive our narrative in this arena. in regards to solving this problem, considering the society that we are in and the distrust that we seem to be facing, i think the solution lies with having credible third parties talking about what the cattle industry does and what our sustainability story really is. i see those third party experts, if you will, they could be chefs, well-known chefs, they could be expected journalists, scientists. but we need -- we need other people out there talking about what we are doing. and to back that up a little
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farther, the science. i can't underscore enough the importance of cogs support for more scientific research in sustainability arena that then those third party folks could hopefully if out and share with the consumers in this country. >> yep. i agree. anyone else want to add to that? how do we reshape the image of production agriculture around these issues? >> thank you. has rosie. >> yeah. rosie. >> kim, that is so right on. we need to educate. we need to tell our story ask. we need the research that documents all the benefits of how animal grazing is -- is helping save our planet. and i would say i would go so far as to say, as without regenerative ag practices and animal grazing, you can look the no future. because if you look at some of the research and science that people are talking about, we need to take action, and
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agriculture is the answer to the problem. >> yep. i think that's right. i think agriculture is the answer. and we -- in my view, the bad news is the distance from farm to fork has never been wider. the good news is with this device i can communicate to the entire world in a millisecond. right, how do we do a better job of telling the story in a positive light? i agree with -- i appreciate the thought about needing the science and the third party validators to cite the science. one last question. i only have a minute. that would be for you, mr. meyer. you mentioned that the most successful sustainable tools are created by those kblelting them and impacted by them. i couldn't agree more. do you have dmi examples of your experience with successful industry-led initiatives, and why do you think they were successful? >> at the u.s. round table for sustainable poultry and eggs we have just completed our building of the framework. and that was completed this past december. so we are in the process of
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building an on line tool for all of our members to be able to use and input that data. once we do that we will be ale to baseline our sustainability across the u.s. poll froou and egg sectors. we base it on three pillars, poultry, planet, and people, trying to be holistic and encompassing all aspects, every node of the supply chain. in that, there are over 100 metrics we have listed there. we have also built our framework in such a way that it allows even those who are just beginning the sustainability journey to be able to use this tool in a man hear the will help them be better in the sustainability in the future. right? so a small producer may not have a lot of resources to put against sustainability initiatives or even know how to tackle starting that process. we have built our tool -- or are building our tool in a man hear the will allow them to ramp into the sustainability journey. and we have also built it in a
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way that large organizations like mcdonald's can, with some resources to put against sustainability can use this tool and have their data incorporated in that. so we have an end-to-end view of the sustainability view of the u.s. poultry and egg i haves. >> thank you. my time expired. i appreciate the team. >> we thank the gentleman and appreciate your testimony, mr. meyer, for points well taken. i believe that the staff has indicated to me that the last member, but certainly very patient and well spoken is my friend, the representative from maine who has been waiting with a great deal of patience for her allotted time. representative pingree, for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chair. and it's -- the time i have been able to listen, it has been very beneficial. thank you for holding this hearing. and to all the witnesses, thank you for your patients with you will a of our questions, and really, your great testimony.
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i'm particularly excited that two of our practicing farmers are females. so great to have both of you on the panel as well. let's see. i have got so many things to ask. i will try to be quick here. one, i won't go into it but both of the farmers have mentioned -- two of the farmers have mentioned slaughterhouse capacity, and that's an isue i have been involved in for a long time. we are hoping to move that ford, particularly the extra funding we have had to deal with supply chain issues. we know how important that is. ms. burroughs, i want to start with you. thank you for all of our thoughts today. i had a chance to hear you speak on the real organizics symposium last sunday and really precious your talking about the challenges that organic dairy farmers are having with not being paid really for the cost of production they are dealing with today. for us in new england as my colleague from connecticut
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mentioned with the loss of the horizon contracts we are in a crisis state right now. we feel for the challenges you are dealing with. as for the origin of livestock and the other rules, you know, we really -- it is shameful how long it has taken to get this done. they are now at o and b, we have our fingers crossed we will finally be able to deliver that to farmers. i wanted to ask you about one particular thing you mentioned in your testimony. you wasly have been doing amazing thing on your farm. you have got a lot of data. and i fundraise you did a lot to mentor other farmers who are interested in adopting these practices. that's connecticutcally important. farmers we meet say i want to do more but i need talk directly to a farmer to do it. how do we provide technical assistance to get that information in the hands of the farmer particularly farm management grazing. do you have ideas how we can
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scale up our efforts and what you think is most beneficial. >> thank you so much for the work you are doing for our industry. we so much need your support. i think that the best way that we could get help is for more funds, again, for outreach, education, and research. farmer-to-farmer is the best way to educate and have people be open to changing what they are doing and have this paradigm shift of working towards regenerative practices. i want to share one quick story. and that is that in our research study that we were conducting here at our farm over the last three years with the -- foundation, we compared regenerative practices with conventional practices. when we gathered the data after the first year, one of our conventional farmers kind of stood up and got really angry
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and said, you know, these numbers must be wrong. it's impossible that these regenerative farps can not spray any pesticide on the almonds and yet have the same yield and volume and pest damage. and after a year of working with the program, the second year, he's converted one of his farms to regenerative practices, and today now, all of his farms are going regenerative. so it's about farmer-to-farmer education. but we need the support of research like at chico state university or the -- society so that these numbers can show about how we can be a sponge and hold water in our systems and use less water. they are talking about california having a 20% reduction of water use. and we are going to desperately need these regenerative practices to keep the farmers
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viable. >> i have got to stop you there. you are wonderful and i could use up all my time i want to turn to mr. medeiros. thank you for your presentation today a. 1600 cow dairy is sort of unthink number the state of maine. but we know california is a different place. you talked a little bit about digesters. i know california has an alternative manure management program to financially inisn'tivize manure management. i am talking with mr. kossa's office because he has experience there. i included some of the things are the california model in a bill i am working on. i want to know, how do you see the practices working out in the are there things congress the learn from what's going on in california that could also be part of the farm bill? you will have to be quick. maybe we will have a extra ten seconds for you. >> real quick -- i'm sorry.
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>> the chairman, because of my friend, the member who asked the question and because the witness, being from my air, will have the time needed to answer the question properly. >> thank you so much, mr. chair. >> thank you. thank you. two different programs. and as i spoke earlier, you know, digesters is not going to fit every program. so the alternative manure management program brings a great alternative to being able to handle methane and how we handle manure. through research and through funding through that program and actually in california it has been oversubscribed and there are so many producers that want to get involved in the alternative manure management practice. so we are hoping to see more funding coming in that direction. and when we talk about the alternative, it ranges from manure separation to drip irrigation using manure water. we have research done on frms out here how we are able to
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utilize filtration system moving manure water to crops and utilizing these nutrients when the plant needs it the most and lowering emissions. simply how it is used on the farm. application processes of the manure management program. they are many things we have done out here in california. i am sure you know california has led the way when it comes to environmental issues. i mean we have got the most aggressive program out here. we are about ready to reach our targets. you know, by rousing methane by 40%. and it was all these programs -- not one by itself. i want congress to really understand that, you know, we talked earlier about consolidation and the industry. you know, the last thing we want to do is speed up consolidation through mandates. right? the more incentives we have on a volunteer basis for producers is so valuable the our industry, and the viability of our
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industry. so we need to remember that, and how we keep pushing these programs forward, and trying to achieve the goals that we need to achieve. how do we fun these programs? because the last thing we want to do is accelerate consolidation because of these programs. >> thank you. we definitely want to look more to the california experience. we are anxious to hear more about that. thank you, mr. chair, for the extra time. i want to say to mr. medeiros, i have raised jersey cows, it is rare to hear a hole steen farmer extolling their virtues. >>. you can continue our conversation offline. i will get you his information. >> thank you. ? we are prepared to wrap up the subcommittee hearing at this time with the close by the ranking member and myself. let me first take the privilege the chair to give a shameless promo for the 55th annual world expo ag show out in california
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next week. three days. opening ceremonies will provide the challenge that we face in american agriculture in which we have participants from all over the world that come and participate. sessions on dairy, water, government regulations will be held. there are also cooking demonstrations. it is an incredible show that has over 100,000 people that participate in three days. for those of you who haven't been to the world ag expo, i -- put it on your list if you are interested in innovative agricultural technologies and the challenges we face today wchltd that said, a person who is always very innovative and using the best technological opportunities to his advantage is my good friend, representative dusty johnson, for his closing comments. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for
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your leadership and for our friendship. i won't take long. i just want to note that so many members of this committee -- subcommittee have talked to the panelists about how good they were today. listen, it is absolutely true, that is not typical. i suspect we all could listen to you guys go on a lot longer. thank you for your knowledge, expertise and your forward-looking love of agriculture. s that great day. too many out there want to cast aspersions on american ag producers. they want to tell them to do less. the message we have heard today, loud and clear from both sides of the aisle is that the we care about sustainability, economic sustain nlt, environmental sustainability, we need the innovation and leadership of the american ag producers more now than ever. so i am looking forward to what tomorrow brings because if it is anything like yesterday, it is going to be -- it is going to be great. thank you mr. chairman, i yield back.
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[ no audio ] >> am i -- am i -- am i muted or can you hear me? i'm good now? let me begin again. thanks again, representative dusty johnson, ranking member of this committee, for your closing comments and always for your participation. for members and for those witnesses who have testified today, i concur with everyone's i think so reflection that this was a very good subcommittee hearing, one that we can build on as this subcommittee continues to do its work this year on a host of important issues affecting livestock and foreign agriculture. and as we help set the table for next year's reauthorization arm
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bill. i think it's important, as i listened to the testimony and the questions today, a few things stood out to me. currently, it is difficult to measure actions that are leading to substantive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. i think that's important. and i think it's critical that we come up with more measurable ways to assess progress on the farm because i think we are making progress. i think this means that we have got to emphasize more on research and what works. and most importantly, as -- and as importantly, what doesn't work. when we make sure that the research and cutting edge practices are available to ranchers, dairy farmers, and -- and farmers and ranchers, i think clearing understand -- they certainly do in
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california -- the effects of climate change. and we have seen it in my own generation, just different how things work today from when my father was farming. we need to reinforce how important it is because agricultural leaders throughout the country are taking a lead i think in reducing emissions of all kinds. that story is not well told. but we need to do a better job of it, as was mentioned here in the testimony. finally, i think we need to ensure that our producers are not punished for adapting. i mean, change is constant. and farmers, ranchers, dairymen and women, who are successful, especially generational, are those that are best understanding of the changes and are best at adapting change. those who don't understand that
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are the ones so often who are unable to stay in business. so it's unreasonable to ask producers to make changes that are financially untenable. we've got to understand that the economics have to work. we must look forward to market based solutions and fine ways to incentivize sustainable practices. all of the witnesses here today talked about sustainable practice asks how they have tried to make them economically viable ask. some practices that were not economically viable. so i look forward to continuing the conversation with all who have been involved today, with our farmers, ranchers, dairymen and women, the fellow members of congress who have been very attentive today. my colleagues really want to work together, as i said, this committee is one of the most bipartisan committees traditionally. and today. that we have in congress. woe need to have more of this, frankly, in my view. the divisions arnts good and
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they are not helpful towards reaching solutions, common solutions that i think are in the best sprs of our country. for my mellow members of the subcommittee and for the administration, we can work together to deal with the challenges to combat climate change, and we will do so. so i look forward to that continuing effort. let me close by saying as chairman under the rules of the committee the record for today's hearing will remain open ten calendar days to receive additional additional tert and supplement information from the witnesses. if you have additional information you want to provide to the subcommittee you have ten days to provide that. and members will have ten days to provide any additional information they would like to hit for testimony or additional questions, questions they might like to ask the witnesses w. that said, the subcommittee today is adjourned. thank you very much. now available for preorder in the c-span shot, c-span's
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