The Health Dunn Right Environmental Action group held their November meeting with Klaus Mager of CItizens Climate Lobby Business Climate Leaders. Mr. Mager Klaus explained the benefit of two strong sustainability pieces of legislation introduced to the US Congress, the energy innovation and carbon dividend Act, which would create market incentives to reduce fossil fuel based inputs primarily by increasing the input cost of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and pesticides. And the growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021 Which will provide the legal and regulatory framework to establish voluntary carbon markets, which paid farmers for the sequestration of carbon into the soil.
Klaus Mager 0:11
Yeah, very good. So anytime you want me to get started, I have just a few slides prepared to walk us through and then we can get into a discussion.
Cheryl Miller 0:21
A great fight class. My name is Cheryl Miller. I'm one of the Cobos here. And I'm just going to introduce you class isn't major or may measure.
Klaus Mager 0:32
Oh, it's suggested may go your
Cheryl Miller 0:35
way. Okay. Class Megger, current leader of the Ag agricultural team of Citizens Climate Lobby Business Climate Leaders, Klaus will explain the benefit of two strong sustainability pieces of legislation introduced to the US Congress, the energy innovation and carbon dividend Act, which would create market incentives to reduce fossil fuel based inputs primarily by increasing the input cost of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and pesticides. And the growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021. Which will provide the legal and regulatory framework to establish voluntary carbon markets which pay farmers for the sequesteration of carbon into soil. Welcome.
Klaus Mager 1:25
Thank you. So yeah, if you should, should I just start?
Cheryl Miller 1:37
Yeah, I'm sorry. You can go ahead now.
Klaus Mager 1:38
Yeah. And can I take the screen? Okay, I can take the screen. So I just presented just put together a few slides, you know, to make it easier to, to to guide the conversation. So we put together this presentation here early last year, you know, to explain the bill and to encourage, you know, conversation on the coin Climate Solutions Act. So nobody action team here. So we support Citizens Climate Lobby and Business Climate Leaders. With this, inside information and feedback. I mean, just as a point of introduction, I'm by no means an agricultural expert. Now my background is 21 years mr. Walt Disney Company as a Director of Food Service. So I was a food systems designer. And developed food systems, what is theme parks. So I was doing this Disney's California Adventure, and then later on Hong Kong Disneyland. And then I worked for a German company, one of the largest food wholesalers in the world is a corporate strategist, the head of corporate target, joined the meeting. And that was that was in in, in 30 countries. So I've been the CCI for about six years. And it turns out that you can't really focus on the food system is out starting at the farm, obviously. And and so so I really did work for these last few years to educate myself on on what is happening is I was so what is what, what is what are the consequences of the way the farm right now to the nutrient density of the foods to health, you know, and not just to the entire environment, the ecosystem around us, and so on. So that's sort of where I'm coming from. So what I'm sharing with you as the learnings of a layperson, to try to make sense out of all this. So you're all familiar with, you know, obviously, we are supporting HB 763, carbon fee and dividend as our primary purpose. And then we are then Business Climate Leaders is now translating what that means to specific sectors of the industry. And so my sector is agriculture. And it's really food and agriculture because you can't separate it. So here's the coin Climate Solutions Act. And now, just now, why is this so important? I mean, soil degradation in the United States is just stunning, right? I mean, we have lost over 1/3 of our topsoil. And without topsoil we don't farm Yeah, I mean, the the, you can call food in sand, you know. So now the talk is we have only like 60 years of farming left if this kind of soil degradation continues. So the we're playing the running out of soil is a we mean, forget about climate change. I mean, And just to maintain the integrity of our soil, so we can continue to call food is an issue all by itself. And it would be, it would be enormously important to to restore soil just for its own merit, not not even thinking about carbon sequestration and so on. So, you, you already Cheryl already mentioned it. The number one cost driver in agriculture is these fossil fuel fuel based inputs. And above all synthetic fertilizer, which is made as natural gas. But then also herbicides and pesticides that are made from oil. So these these inputs have become so overwhelming that they're basically they're basically holding now the bio, this the biomass inside the soil, I like to compare it to like cocaine, it's 50, you get a big rush for a few times, and then you need more to get the same rush again, you need more and more and pretty soon. You're right. And so that's what we're doing to our soil. Yeah. So by increasing by charging a fee now at the base of fossil fuels, we would increase the input cost to the farmer, base the synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides. So farm fuels, the fuel for the tractor itself is exempted from the bill.
But no other change from current practices to reach anyone to organic will require adaptations that may require new equipment and a temporary loss of yield. Because shifting out of using these chemicals to stimulate your plant cause requires typically like a three to five year transition before before yields are we established. So so our our statement and is that CCL now supports the going climate solution Act and other incentive programs to compensate and incentivize cause for changing their practices. So obviously, we can burden the farmer you know, with with this transition. So what the coin Climate Solutions Act does, it will create a one stop shop website where with information and resources for producers, foresters that want to monetize their regenerative practices, so, there will be all the all the resources you need to learn about what is the carbon market what do you have to do to comply with it? And cuckoo Can you work with to develop, you know, your testing regiment and so on, will be summarized by USDA. And then it says USDA will create a certification program to standardize how carbon is being measured. You know, this will provide transparency legitimacy, and informal endorsement important that the bill does not propose any accumulation per se, it recommends a process torture that that will that that will, if that is that will that will help the market and help investors right because there's a lot of companies who want to spend money buying carbon credits, it will help the buyers of carbon credits to gauge the legitimacy of what they're buying. So it provides third party technical assistance. So there's greenhouse gas technical assistance providers and then there's a third party verifier certification for craft. So USDA will basically put a stamp on on verifiers saying they have been trained and certified in the pasta sees that that will lead to a reliable sequestration of carbon into soil. So then, now this presence of USDA certification will assist with access to credit market, then foreign commerce one financing to start healthy soil practices. USDA will summarize the science related to the regeneration of soil and report to Congress regarding further policy actions. In the meantime, I just learned that a couple of days ago, they are now efforts in the market where farmers who follow these regenerative policies can get credits on the farm and on the insurance program. They can get better rates in loans, because they have no way to reliability. And, and, and less of an insurance risk. So, coming into the next year, so So here is what the Congress envisioned to the drafters of this bill. I pick this off the congressional bedside here making, you know, an argumentation of why of why this bill is so important. So farmers need extra capital to implement climate smart agriculture and forestry practices, right? You can't just convert without having the money. I talked with a farmer in California, who is calling alfalfa by flooding the fields now in California, going pay basically, to ship to China, right. And here, we have a state that's like flat out of water. And we don't have enough water to cover vegetables. But
we are really continuing very wasteful farming practices. And so in the conversation was a was a lady farmer. She was saying, Look, I would love, you know, to change and put in, for example, olive trees, because my land is suitable, perfectly suitable for olive trees. But I don't have the money to do this. And I don't want it to indebt myself with respect to the law. And so there is this, this need for farmers to find funding. And then the last one is farmers aren't sure how to implement budgets or navigate carbon credit markets. It's a complicated system here. And then, then here, a big one, farmers don't know who to trust in the marketplace. A lot of the actors that are in this marketplace are not farmers, you know, they're people from the finance world, impact investors and so on. And so So who can I really listen to, to do the right thing? And then we'll talk through, you know, industry professionals, not what I was just saying, work with carbon credits, you know, they don't, they're not really farmers. And then carbon credits are not not currently accessible because of these roadblocks. So what the what the bill is supposed to do, you know, it's acknowledged that yes, you need, you need access to capital, you need access to marketplaces that will support you financially in this transition. So USDA will publish a website that will explain the entire process, you know, how do you get started? Who do you contact? You know? What, what what information do you need to know what information providers are there? And it will then provide technical assistance and assistance providers, you know, who, who are certified by USDA, to to, with expertise in agriculture and forestry, to help farmers to design and implement projects. So the lady farmer I was just talking about could find technical assistance now of what type of olive trees should you be planting here? Where would you source those those rootstocks? Where would you find funding and loans and so on that assist you with this? And and then they are third party verifiers. So after you know, the process has been started. Who these verifiers will take stock off your your what, what carbon do you have in your store currently? And how is that advancing, and then out of that issue, a certified credit. And that credit can then become a revenue stream by funding climate smart agriculture and forestry practices. So that's basically sort of in a nutshell, what the bill is supposed to accomplish. So now talking this farmers know so the bill literally sailed through the Senate on the 93 to seven board, but it's now totally stuck in the house. There's a court of NGOs, more than 100 NGOs signed on to the two letter urging Congress to talk this bill all together. And because it is just going to lead to a more dangerous distortion of the agricultural market. So in the argumentation so this a vide variations within the industry and different courts, would be impacted differently by HR 763. So for example, commodity costs, of course use huge volumes of synthetic fertilizer. But organic cost aren't multicore costs don't. So so. So there isn't there is a, there is a different a different, a different level of impact, depending on what kind of a farm you have, then the capacity to sequester carbon into soil differs by crop type, by the existing condition of the soil in which new climates to soil in California, obviously, is dealing with different issues then, soil in Florida or in Oregon.
So, so what what you can do with this, your soil diverse, depends, first of all on what's the current condition of your soil, what's the type of soil that you have, then by local climate, you know, the original climate, by access to water, the availability of water, and then you have socio economic realities that also impact what you can and cannot do with within your agricultural system. So, that creates that's create some some problems when you want when you reward a farmer who had who was working some very difficult soil, that the soil that just doesn't have the capacity to sequester a lot of carbon, but still changing practices into regenerative benefits. Now, not just the soil, but the entire ecosystem around it, water retention, and so on and so on, versus another farmer, who can just now put in tons and tons and tons of carbon, because he's just located in a more said, in a more available environment. And so why would this guy who has worked has to work much harder to put carbon into the soil make less money than someone who has a really easy time with it. So there is this level of fairness, right, the perceived fairness of having unequal outcomes for equal efforts. So to coin Climate Solutions Act will require the USDA to develop specific criteria to address these variations, and create fear standards that incentivize and reward all cores to participate in carbon markets on an equitable basis. So we put that in, I mean, I wrote that No, more than a year ago, and then in the meantime, we are all sort of collectively learning, this is not an really easy thing to do. I mean, there's a lot of of issues here that would have to be discussed and and in clarify, to make ahead to help that understand. So, there is significant pushback from a range of farmers who are concerned it will be left out of this multicore farmers, specialty crop farmers, small and bifold farmers. And so that's really the impetus why this this opposition has really solidified and people are really pushing back on this because if the if if carbon markets leads to further consolidation of farmland, you know, unfairly prioritize commodity farmers versus multi crop and specialty crop farmers then we could then we are intensifying the the problem that we already have in our agricultural system because when you think about specialty crop farmers well that's that's borders right that solid and keratin you know so so why are these specialty crops good now in the mean this should be like basic crops and is not enough support to really to really emphasize that we need to shift our dietary patterns more towards a plant forward type of diet and and that is that is actually not not only not supported in the in the current understanding of what this bill is it actually it actually creates more of a shift into the wrong direction so so we're looking at that then my bad my feedback to you know, the coop that signed on to these these letters and so on is you know, you the bill has good intentions, the intentions of the bill are to, to accelerate the conversion towards regenerative organic practices, because we need to sequester carbon out of the atmosphere, put it into the soil, we can't ask the farmers to, to suffer financial consequences because of for all of us doing the right thing. So we have to find ways to fund and reward these these outcomes that we're all looking for. But the bill doesn't do it at this point, you know, there is there is a lack of clarity in in how this bill instructs USDA to go about a fairness standard, across across the agricultural sector.
So that's basically looking for language in the bill, you know, that would instruct USDA to develop performance criteria that is inclusive, and considers the need for development of the entire sector. Yeah, so that's us creating dialogue and political will for nonpartisan business friendly climate solutions for SCA focusing on national carbon pricing legislation, and then on bills such as this, that are complementary in that they that they are offsetting the impact that HR 763 will have on different sectors of the of the economy. When you I'm just showing you a couple articles here of what is of what is the conversation currently going on. This just came out September 30. And and basically saying now, the current carbon markets are the Wild Wild West, because there are multiple players already. Who are. And I'll copy this into the chat. So if you'd like to, if you'd like to read those later. The menu when you look at the number of of actors already in the market, there are no clear cut standards, and they're all using slightly different ways of interacting with the farmer. He is another one. Obviously, look from our creek, you know, is also saying it's the wild west for now. And for and cites a number of reasons why why that is. So here's an article also the way forward for the US, US agri food sector. Also talking about No, here are the key issues that we that we all see. So. So in a nutshell, you know, what we what we what we can see is a huge interest going understanding about the importance of agriculture in climate mitigation. I don't know if you've seen project drawdown just advanced their understanding of the influence factors of climate change, emissions and so on. And they have now put agriculture on policy energy sector. And when you when you look at the national dialogue, you know, we're talking about electric cars and now batteries and power stations endlessly, right? We're not talking about agriculture is that same intensity, but yet it's just as important as electricity you can't fix, you know, the climate change issue we're dealing with right now without addressing agriculture. And then it turns out, when you start to really dig into agriculture, there are other factors beyond climate change and beyond emissions, you know, that that make agriculture such an important part of the entire social change, right, that we need to engage behave and then adaptations, because the way we call food right now creates nutrient deficiencies, because the soil microbiome has been basically killed. So we're eating food that's that's with chemical and mind inputs, and it's deficient. It doesn't have the range of microorganisms and micronutrients that we need to be healthy and it's reflected in the health of the US population. When you think that 60% of the US population has a dietary linked issue, diabetes, cancers, and obesity and so on. 40% of the US population have two or more. So it's linked directly into our food. So there are a number of reasons why we have to change, you know what we do in agriculture. But we have to find a way to reward farmers for basically providing these ecosystem services. Yeah, so that was my story if you want to open it up for questions.
Cheryl Miller 25:24
Hey, thank you. Okay. Everyone questions unmute
the things that I've heard from some, quote unquote, green groups, is there concern about farmers doing the sequester sequestration now, and kind of giving a pass to some businesses? For them taking a more active role in in reducing their carbon? You know, how do you how do you respond and respond to those groups? You've I'm sure you've read read those comments as well.
Klaus Mager 26:10
Quite sure. I understand your question.
You know, I've read I've read some, I've read from a couple of of environmental groups saying that they're concerned about the carbon sequestration in ag giving, giving businesses kind of a pass for they're looking for ways that they can reduce their, their their carbon use a know how do you know night doesn't relate just to this bill, but I'm just thinking about that whole sequestration thing. Ag sequestration, how do you respond to those groups?
Klaus Mager 26:55
Yeah, I'm still struggling to. I mean, they the criticism on carbon market is generically, the many of these guys just hate carbon markets. You know, because it's a big Colas game, the way it's structured, right? Now, you need to have a few 1000 acres before this makes any sense. You have to have access to capital at a big scale. And it really doesn't reflect the the need to shift out of so much commodity crops and shift into more plant based or plant forward types of diets. And so that's one part two, to revive, for example, rural communities now, which needs more small scale farmers and in develop local food systems, and so on. And so they want, so they're saying, If cotton markets pump so much money, you know, into the industry, then that will double down on farmers becoming yet bigger, you know, and, and limiting more and more the types of crops they're calling because you have like seed manufacturers, right to do bio coded seeds and all of that. Well, now we have fewer crops, you know, not now, seeds become software now. And so it may turns the farmer into a contractor, basically, not on a much larger scale. So, so the question is, well, how can we create no equity and fairness? So that smaller course we're also providing, you know, invite valuable local services to the entire ecosystem, by restoring their soil by creating biodiversity on their farms, but how are they getting paid, you know, for their extra efforts? And so I think that's, I think, is the core of the criticism that you're hearing. So my response is, yeah, I agree with you know, I mean, I just say, just make sense, right? We need to get money to you. We just haven't figured out yet. There is no clarity, you know, in the bill in, in general in the way USDA allocates money through the Farm Bill, there is no clarity on on how that is going to be accomplished. So that's where we need to engage.
I have a quick question close to I spent about 20 years in sustainable local food system work in Vermont just for background and and 20 years ago, right. So buying local, starting to get people to care. We're 2030 years into it and it's still just a small fraction of the actual food we consume. And, and what I find is interesting because I agree with you that we have to make major changes in our lifestyle, but just watching the reaction of our my neighbors around wearing a mask in the middle of a COVID pandemic, are we really ever going to be able to transition people's hearts, thoughts and minds to change their diets to care about the planet. I mean, I hate to be pessimistic, I try to be an optimist. But I deeply worried that people are like, it's going to be my way, and the government never gonna tell me what to do. And I can do whatever I want to do. And it's just a sad statement that we're losing what I thought was powerful, many generations ago, a sense of community and care, really becoming very selfish in my mind. And then on another note, we are looking at carbon markets, I run a land trust, and we are working in carbon markets for our forest products.
But again, we're looking at three to 5000 acres before it actually makes financial sense for us. And we don't we're not at that scale. And that's my biggest worry is all big going to be all this money's going to go to the big guys. And then all the middle and little guys like us go no, sorry, this is for the TNCs of the world or the you know, and that's where I think sadly, sometimes we forget the solutions are in our communities, I'll stop doing my little glass love you love you love you.
Klaus Mager 31:19
I couldn't agree more obviously. odunsi. I mean, totally. In fact, I just joined a company, planetary care to do just that right to get engage communities. And when you look at our last webinar, you know, found the folk community food systems that PCL hosted with some really incredible speakers that's all about, you know, engaging community in this conversation. So, but it has to, we have to make it fun, you know, you can't, this can't be pushing it down and going going wild on it. So you have to involve, for example, your local caterer, you know, your, for example, your school catering, your college catering, and so, because they can take and create some recipes, they know they can, they can make this exciting, and, and tasty and colorful. Why? Because it's it's your I mean, my God, look at Indian cuisine or Mediterranean cuisine from around the world. plant for the dining is wonderful. So when you, for example, look at when you go online, you look at Menus of Change. We have in our webinar, Viet Sophie, who is one of the founding members of the Menus of Change initiative at Harvard, now, and they are partnered with the Culinary Institute of America. And they're developing this idea of a plant for the diet, a diet, plan forward, dining. So the flexitarian approach, meaning you that meat becomes an ingredient on your plate, but it's not Centerplate anymore. And, and in particular, I think if we can if we can engage young people, right, who are so on fire, because of climate change, and the disk, what I call the Greta Thunberg. Generation, now they're so on fire about about us older guys having messed it all up your architectures. And well, yeah. But there's nothing you can do about it, right? I mean, so there is a total lack of understanding in that younger generation, about the importance of our dietary patterns, to climate change and to climate restoration. So So yeah, I mean, we have to find, we have to find ways of getting people excited about this by making it fun, colorful.
Yeah, great. Yeah, one thing we tried to do is we did a local beer, and we highlighted local grains and tried to use that as an educational tool tool. But yeah, I still so I am worried that with this anti masking attitude, I just feel like we're our culture is changing. That's the scary part for me. But it's just noticing those kinds of deeper attitudes that are ingrained in people. It feels like they're getting more stuck in the mud, maybe. But I agree. Let's keep it fun.
Class back to it. I want to get Tara in on this. Is there is there a Have you found any success in terms of, of just trying to get you know, some some news media out about what local people are doing and has that have you seen any research about that making a difference about how they get the news out and what other people are doing? So, you know, it's local people influencing local people.
Klaus Mager 34:48
Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, I mean, I just joined this this really exciting cool the planetary care and we we do wanting we are working, you know, to, to not just set up a Demonstration Farm, right, because that's a big thing right now demonstrations farms are popping up all over the place. But the question, but without integrating this into the community, it's not really going anywhere, you know, because when you set up a Demonstration Farm, that implies you're playing with types of crops and, and rotations and so on, where the design imperative is to reboot to rejuvenate your soil to regenerate, you know your soil back to health to soil microbiome. But then then, you know, you need maybe the local college, in the schools and so on, to link in with this, and then turn these products that come out of it into some really fun things to eat. And to make this part of our diet, in understanding that we're doing something really good here, because we're empowering this farmer, you know, to do things that without this kind of participation wouldn't be possible. And so, so, so we want to, like, set up a process where you go, and before you set up a demonstration farm, you talk to everybody why you're doing it, and what you want to accomplish, you know, and, and how the community has to help make that make that all work. Um,
Tara Daun 36:32
I was just gonna ask Klaus, if you think that there is a possibility that the smaller farmers could possibly get in on the game of carbon markets, if they were to do more of a full lifecycle of the product that's being produced. So in my head, I'm thinking of, let's say, are smaller scale producers that tend to sell more locally, so a CSA example. And there are plenty of CSAs that even do tract realist farming, for example, so their carbon inputs for the whole lifecycle of the crop will be lower, and then the crop will be moving less distance. So there would be a smaller carbon production there also, and I'm wondering if there's a way or if there's been any talk of introducing that into this model, so that it is more of an incentive for the smaller producers who have more of a local effect?
Klaus Mager 37:25
Yeah, I wish I had an answer to that. I'm not sure that that gcsaa can ever be advanced to the point where it really covers everybody, right? But it's an important tool to, to maybe it's a transition, right? Where the commodity costs have to change their practices. And, and you can't just change from one season to another, right? I mean, this, this is a trillion dollar market. And we have global impact with how we call our food around the world, right? I mean, this is serious stuff. So we can't mess that up. And so the transition has to be thoughtful. So and my best analogy here is when you, if you remember this story, where a young boy comes to the old stage, and he has a white dog and a black dog, and he goes, You know, this black dog beats up my white dog all the time, you know, what can I do to, to train them or to change them, and then to the sage score was when you feed the dog that you want to be strong? And so so we are right now we are we are the money in the farm bill is going into directions that simply not very helpful to the smaller farmers into the entire ecosystem. That depends on them. So that out, but when you look at the farm bill, you know, there are a ton of let me let me find one more example for you. There are ton of pork grams in there, which which are designed, you know, to help develop these markets. And give me just a moment because I think that that would be really helpful to put on the screen.
So let me take the screen one more time. And I'll show you this thing. So here is back from USDA. And you may not have seen that. But that's that's basically how USDA has programs that are designed to develop a local food supply chain. Yeah. And so maybe maybe the Climate Solutions Act is one tool in the toolkit. And then and then this here becomes another way of stimulating the the part of the market that you want to see cool and develop right But the thing is that these programs need to be funded more aggressively, and they need to be promoted. And people need to be made aware of it and educated on it. But when you look at because to develop, to create this change is a systems issue, right? You have to, you have to change the entire system. And the system means that that, that you have to create a supply chain that gets you from farm to fork, right? That this is the big buzzword that came out of the United Nations Food Systems Summit, you know, found the fork, and you have to envied actually did a webinar with PCL, now the previous one that was talking about community food systems, a systems perspective. So I like to always say, when you look at internationally how, you know, countries that have lived on on their land for 1000s of years without destroying their soil, I mean, think of Japan and Korea and Germany and Greece, Mediterranean countries. It doesn't matter if you take your cabbage and you turn it into kimchi or sauerkraut, the process of getting this cactus cabbage through the supply chain means you start with a farmer, you need an aggregator, you need a processor, there, you need a logistic system. And then you need to have a look a supply chain, I mean a reaching the consumer wholesale markets and retail markets to make that work. So this this, what USDA has done here is go from no land conservation, production, processing aggregation distribution, to consumers. And to so and to fund so we don't need to invent new programs. Now we just
one thing I do want to point out, though clause is that USDA is extremely weak when it comes to their NRCS cost share is only for environmental areas, nonprofits like ours in a land trust community. And I know in Vermont, we did this, we worked with beginner farmers because the entry into a small farm, the cost of land, the cost of the equipment is astronomical. But there's no government supporting that it's a nonprofit Land Trust, collaborative model that then helps those beginner farmers have reduced payments on the land because they place a conservation easement on that land. That's the work that the land trust will do. So I while I appreciate the federal model, I think we need a community model that also values the work that NGOs are doing it because I there's a real reason why we don't have a bunch of small family farms, because USDA wants a bunch of large corporate farms in my personal opinion. So I don't think they're going to be the solution. But I'll try to have a better attitude.
Klaus Mager 43:07
Yeah, but you know, nothing happens from nothing, right? So let me let me recommend a book here that you really need to read. Because next year, we'll talk about the farm bill, the farm bill is up for discussion. And all of these programs are vested in the Farm Bill. And if you don't go with the Farm Bill, and don't pay attention to what is happening there. Then no matter what you do no in the field on the ground, the money flow will work against you. And it's it's impossible to overcome. It's like a fire hose now, because the billions of dollars being put into the economy there. So so we have to have an opinion that needs to be expressed at the local level to your representative and Senators. And this is what we're doing at Citizen Climate Lobby, we lobby for things that are important to us. And so no, I mean, the CCL hasn't taken a position on the farm bill yet. And I don't know if they will have on but I think looking at the importance of agriculture in the total climate change sphere, we can't afford not to it's my personal opinion. No, I mean, we just have to make this right and it's not just because pig farmers don't create community. I mean, these massive you know, the you need you need a local you need a localized food system to protect your or your own ecology, protect your model tables. Now, that perspective can't come from top down it needs to come bottom up. That I mean to that sort of my my thinking
Unknown Speaker 44:59
what else I'm wondering at this point in time with, you know, the budget bills in process, and hopefully the bill back better Act includes some kind of carbon pricing, like Citizens Climate Lobby has really been pushing for. But in regard to the growing Climate Solutions Act, how do we put pressure on our politicians, our representatives to, you know, move that, that legislation to a better place for the small farmers, the specialty farmers? Is there something that we can do, as soon
Klaus Mager 45:38
I would say, the first argument in meetings with a member of Congress would be look, we have to regulate, we have to standardize these markets and vile vile USDA is not going to have an enforcement mechanism here, they can set the bar that needs to be met, you know, so to have to have credibility, for that the farmer just doesn't do something that's not, that's not reliable. So the big issue here is about permanence, right? Because you have, you could have someone leased lands to a tenant, who doesn't wonderful job for five years, you know, you change out your tenant, and he shows up with a tractor and rips up the soil. So there has to be. So land ownership has to engage in this entire process when you lease land. So So So USDA can create performance standards, you know, that don't make it reliable for you know, some company that wants to buy carbon offsets, to choose who to cause carbon credit to trust, right. So if there is a stamp on there, that saying meeting USDA standards, you know, now you've got something. So that's one path. And then I mean, I tend to think that maybe there needs to be a parallel bill, or maybe attached to the gcsaa that focuses on smaller on these specialty crops and so small, because clearly, we need to call that sector. When you look at the dietary recommendations in the US, we spend 90% of the money in the Farm Bill on on Colas that produce, like 10% of what we need to eat now, because we need to eat fresh powders and foods and legumes and so on. And that's not being promoted in the founder. So that needs to change. So, so maybe what I just showed you, you know, the supply chain development and so on, maybe that would be the space where they put in money to to build up the entire system. This is not an easy task, obviously. But I think it would be usually helpful to educate lawmakers on why they are objections to this bill, you know, and what, what they should be looking at, to shift spending into the direction where we need to move into
Steve Hogseth 48:12
a class I have a question for you. Lindsey, sort of touched upon this earlier. And so I'd like to tap the subject on the shoulder again, and bring it up a little bit different fashion. You know, when it when you when you look at the whole 30 to 40 years or more that we've been aware of climate change, yet we have a lot of deniers, and that is still an issue. Big Issue is getting people to buy in. And they when I listen to this topic, to a lot of the lay people, they're probably clueless in many aspects about how important this is, and how much it plays into the big picture. But when I hear you mentioned that we're losing our topsoil at a very rapid rate. And when I hear you say that 60% of our health is affected by the food we eat, and not eating as well as we should. And I hear that this is a big issue in itself. To get people, you know, what you gave us this morning was kind of a firehose of information, and to get the general citizens and I'm talking about those that are more in the denial mode than in the believing. But to get them to become more aware of this. They're not going to read a book. They're not going to sit down and listen to an hour presentation, etc, etc. But pretty Perhaps they will read an article that you can read in maybe three to five to 10 minutes. And maybe over time, if they get small doses of this information, they will become better educated and maybe more aware, and more inclined to listen. And to understand that this is indeed affecting them if it's affecting their health. Do you have some articles? When I say articles, do something for the layperson, something for the person who is not aware of some of these issues. We had an earlier discussion in our business speeding, we're talking about PF H a little bit. And I just shared how many people that I know are clueless to what PF Azar? Well, a lot of people are probably clueless to the issue that you're talking about. Give them more information in small doses. For the layperson. Do you have anything that you can share? And I know you shared some articles here, I've copied them, but I haven't opened any of them. But with that said, could you comment?
Klaus Mager 51:16
Yeah, okay, so So let me give you here, this is the project tore down the latest release on on food and agriculture, land use and so on. And this is just a real eye opener, this article. I mean, I've been bouncing around with the, with the Apache Chardon, coop for going on three years. And I was always frustrated, because they have like these 100 bullet points. And none of them make any sense in isolation, right? You have to, it's a system, right? So you have to combine this. And finally, we're doing this here. And then from our last webinar, there is a there's a button on there that says, resources, you know, and it's just a bunch of stuff in there. That may be that may be useful to take out. But let me let me just UHF saying, you know, it is a firehose, and it's just so much information, then oh, my gosh, where do I start, we have to start in the place where people are now. So so when you talk to a mother, you know, and tell her that 20% of American mothers have glyphosate in their mother's milk in their breast milk, right. And that a majority of cereals that are good good children have traces of glyphosate in them, and how destructive that is to the development of, of a healthy child. When you think about the nutrient deficiency in our foods, how these how they are micronutrients missing, that a child needs to develop a healthy brain, right, because your brain has enormous needs now for nutrient for very specific nutrients, micronutrients, which are missing, you know, in the commodity type foods that you have out there. So that's one part, right? So the mother doesn't need to know anything more than you have to pay attention to the nutrient density of the food you buy, which then translates instantly into organic regenerative agriculture. Because that's how you get nutrient density in the food. So, so So there are different conversations taking place with different people. Now I've been placed on where they are at now.
Tara Daun 53:37
I would just fire Lindsay like, you know, go go, go, go go. I have a couple of thoughts on this, specifically. Um, so number one, yeah, meet people where they're at. But it's so important to remember that people will remember how you made them feel, and not necessarily what you said. So those statistics are really great. But I think what a lot of young mothers would take away from that conversation is, oh, I have another responsibility that I'm not doing enough on and in my kid's brain isn't going to develop, right? And that's going to create, like a sense of fear. And a sense of this person is telling me I'm not a good mother, like so it's really understanding how to like, comment, people, because I think, as Lindsey talks about the anti mass stuff, a big part of that is reactionary, and people think that they are being treated like they're not intelligent, or there are assumptions made about them. And it's making them react differently to that. So I would just say, like, part of the important thing that we have to do here is not only meet people where they're at, but meet people with a very fundamental baseline of respect for where they're at and assume they're doing the best that they can. And then, like, I don't, like we always talk about, you know, what's in people's water, right? You're fishing, you're swimming in the water and it's hard to recognize what's even around you. So you can't just pick them out out of the tank and put them in a new one. And be like, now now only worry about food, right? So it's it's that Understanding of maybe you just give them a few drops at a time or, you know, oh, I, I'm worried about this because of XY and Z. And so even just providing them with a taste of, oh, other people are thinking about food, maybe I should think about that more, is something I would recommend. And then. So personal conversation more so than just providing people resources, I think is important. And I've also heard a lot of people talking lately about providing people with subscriptions. And so that they can go, just keep getting those drops added to their water instead of just being like, you know, do do your own research. We've all heard that lately. And none of us went out immediately and Google that. So I know one guy who actually just started sending no till farmer magazine subscriptions to farmers that he was trying to increase knotel activity on. And then he said that three of the 12 farmers he did that in started no tilling the next year. And that was just because they had that coming directly to their house, there was useful information, meeting them where they were at, and it provided them with really good content. And it wasn't someone coming and saying you need to do this, it was just hey, this is coming into your home now. You can read while you're on the toilet, and pick up the information. Why there? And I think that I do like when I talk to people, I've always just like, oh, try this podcast or something, something that they whatever their media preferences that they can go into their life with I think that's maybe better in in general terms than just giving someone a resource library because it's overwhelming. Right. That's the resource library itself is also a firehose to the face. If you decide that you want to do something. I'm sorry that I will presumptuous for me to jump in and say those things, but it was just some thoughts I had in response.
Klaus Mager 56:45
You're spot on with that? Totally. I totally agree with you.
And I think our our heart part here clauses many of us live in around large AG. So we're in Dunn County, right? I have very large grain growers all around me growing for the energy market. They're not even growing for food, right? They're just growing for biofuels, which I think is very, doesn't make sense to me, my brain doesn't go there. Food should be grown, we should figure out another way to create our energy. But blending those two, I thought was not a great idea. That's just my personal opinion. But the challenge we face is is how do we have these conversation? I think this is what terrorist was trying to say. We're living right in the frontlines. So if I say I'm worried about my Well, farmers are don't like me, because I'm expressing a concern that they may be impacting my well, and people naturally get defensive. So I really worry or not, I'm worried. I'm not worried at all. But what I'm trying to figure out is how do we thoughtfully have these conversations when we're writing the frontlines. And it's not that we're in some urban city, and we jump on some bus and go someplace else, and have a different discussion. These are people we live with, you know, these are our neighbors, I live with 72 other families. That's it. That's all of us out there. That's it. That's majority of northern Wisconsin is the end, they're very poor, the average income is $19,000 a year, you try living off in $19,000 a year. And these aren't farmers. These are just rural residents. The depression in rural America is so overwhelming, and then we don't have like, we don't have internet. So we can't compete with everybody else. I just I you know, and I apologize. I'm ranting a little bit here. But I just think there's so many huge issues impacting rural America, that we can't then just go to the farmer and say, Well, now you change and then everything else will be better. And I'm not saying that's not what you said at all. But how do we have those closer conversations to the folks living in the actual communities were large farms, we got large Turkey, we got large chicken, I mean, these are large scale farms. Yeah, I'm curious if you have experienced with that, or Tara, because what we don't want to do is mess it up. And and I'm afraid that we're a group of concerned citizens who care. But we also don't want to mess it up, make people angry, create more tension for this community. We're trying to collectively be part of a solution. And but you can actually actually accidentally step in it and offend others to very easily enroll area. So anyway, I'll just leave it at that. But I think what if I guess could be hard.
Klaus Mager 59:37
Yeah, I mean, come in, you know, our economy has taken a turn over the last few decades that just has created a lot of problems. And then it's heartbreaking to see impoverished inner cities and food deserts now in the middle of an agricultural land. It Yeah, so well, this doesn't belong into the BCC field here. But I just joined this school peer planetary care. And our intention is to, to work with communities in a holistic way. In fact, we're going next week to Palouse, which is a distant, which is a region in southeast Washington, bordering Idaho and Oregon, and, and a stays. Cooper farmers now they have a company called rabbit screen. They are they're managing between them about 150,000 acres of land mostly used for wheeled for weed. And so they want to do a demonstration farm and so partnered with us. Well, the point we were making is, you know, a Demonstration Farm really needs to be integrated into the community. So let's, let's, let's do that. And so, so then talk with the local university, you know, the Washington State University Extension, let's talk with the social organizations that the school or the school catering called Vista, local farmers market and the four top that they have already and see, what do you guys want to do? What do you want to see happen in your community? And then let us go to work and see what we can do to help you to develop that. But it's crowned right from the community. So it's, it's because you can't come in with a top down solution. And this is the most frustrating thing, right? Because a lot of organizations come in and want to offer you solutions without really knowing what, what what's going on in your particular neck of the woods, so to speak. So that's all like, I can date a lot of good people in this space who want to help. And it just, we just need to figure out how to do it. Yeah.
Steve Hogseth 1:02:03
Oh, just look at the time here. It's 105. And we cause we don't want to impose upon your time. And I know everybody has a schedule. And just wondering if there's maybe a last question that somebody might want to ask a comment. Otherwise, I think, to respect everybody's schedule, we should probably sign off here in the next couple of minutes. So anybody have any last question or comment?
Unknown Speaker 1:02:35
I have one comments at, you know, on a positive note, we do have the university in our county seed of Menominee, University Wisconsin Stout. And those students are working really hard to, for example, there's a capstone project where they're working on composting, and how to develop composting for the university. And some of the students are working on putting more solar on the university. So I think we have the resources there. We have the people. We're lucky in our small, rural county that we do have a university and I just I guess we'll take it from here. You know, I thank you very much Klaus for bringing up all these topics and stimulating all these questions. And I think we'll have to just work really hard on our collaborative efforts. Thank you, Claus.
Klaus Mager 1:03:37
Thank you so much for having me.
Steve Hogseth 1:03:39
This is this has been a very informal, informative and educational. Our close. Thank you very much. And maybe we will see you again sometime. Okay.
Klaus Mager 1:03:51
Cheryl Miller 1:03:54
Yeah. Bye. Bye, everybody. Thank you.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai