Washington Congresswoman Dr. Kim Schrier had has introduced legislation that looks to reduce methane emissions produced by livestock. She said the Research to Reduce Agricultural Methane Act will provide funds to study innovative methods to reduce methane emissions in livestock, including through feed additives such as seaweed.
Citing the EPA’s 2018 Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, Schrier said enteric fermentation, the digestive process by which cows and other ruminants produce methane, was the largest human-caused source of methane in the United States, representing 28% of domestic methane emissions. She added ruminants, such as cattle, buffaloes, sheep and goats, have the highest methane emissions per unit of body mass among all animal types. The amount of methane from livestock production alone is about the equivalent of the emissions from about 650 million cars.
The Reduce Agricultural Methane Act will enable further research in promising methods to reduce agricultural methane emissions including:
- feeds, feed additives, and feeding regimes, such as adding seaweed to diet
- changes in grain-to-forage ratio
- grinding and pelleting of feed
- the use of enzymes
“We are facing an unprecedented climate crisis and it falls on all of us to find creative solutions to this pressing problem,” Schrier said. “Our farmers are the leading stewards of our land and on the front lines fighting climate change. While they are already innovating with solutions like no-till farming and increased cover crop adoption, we must provide more federal research support and ensure any game-changing products are accessible to our farmers and ranchers. As the only member on the Agriculture Committee from the Pacific Northwest, I will continue to work on common sense solutions that support our farmers while helping to address climate change.”
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