Incentives for ‘Climate-Smart’ Agriculture – Unintelligent Consequences

In a move that could only have been imagined and implemented by a federal bureaucracy, the Biden administration, as part of its inflation-reduction law, is spending $40 billion to get farmers and ranchers to engage in “climate-smart” conservation practices. On the other hand, it is not at all clear how printing and spending this money will reduce inflation. On the other hand, it is unclear how these conservation practices will affect climate change. It’s like throwing two stones at one bird and it’s still missing. This scheme is an exercise in futile situations, a political theater show that asks you, as a fair citizen, to buy a ticket.

The The New York Times Reports state that the program is “the largest federal investment to date in climate-smart practices,” and that demand for the program far exceeds available funding, with “half to two-thirds of farmers applying” being rejected. Not kidding. Demand for software will inevitably exceed supply, which is also It inevitably means that the pressure to increase the program budget will intensify. “Farmers want to do these kinds of conservation programs, … we need these money and these resources,” says Ben Lilliston, who works for a nonprofit agricultural research and advocacy organization.

Isn’t it all of us?

This type of agricultural fumigation is nothing new. Indeed, this is the latest iteration of the kind of failed agricultural intervention that began in the New Deal. One of the first actions of the Roosevelt Department of Agricultural Adaptation was to pay farmers to butcher six million piglets and plow under every third row of cotton, all during a period of national famine. He exemplified the wisdom of great government “mind-confidence” at the time, addressing the era’s “climate change” (low prices) equivalent with harsh policy decisions. What seems extraordinary wisdom in one generation is what the next generation finds ironic. And here we are, once again chasing a government carrot in a collective circle.

Climate Smart pays homage to itself by explaining how its programs can improve efficiency And the maintain. Interviews with farmers tirelessly highlight how adjusting their practices to align with government incentives has “helped them make a profit”. But if all of these practices make economic sense, why would they require government incentives in the first place? “There is a real risk, based on recent history, that a lot of that funding will be squandered,” says Scott Faber, vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group. Well, Mr. Faber, and I suppose you are in a position to find out…

Impact of climate change?

The risk of plunging into another Great Depression is one thing, but at least all of this helps the Earth, right? Maybe not. With climate science really in its infancy, and claims about climate change in general being wildly exaggerated, it’s safe to bet that this program will have little, if any, impact on global temperatures. Björn Lomborg writes that the effects of this new climate law (sorry…the “low inflation law”) will be impossible to detect in the next 50 years using UN climate models. The times, In a rare frank, He says about the “Smart Climate” program:

…scientists still haven’t determined just how much and for how long to sequester carbon and how to measure any effect. However, farmers, experts, and the federal government broadly agree that these practices confer benefits such as improving soil and water health, building resilience against drought and enhancing biodiversity.

So scientists can’t even Measures The program’s climate efficacy, however, everyone agrees with because it feels right – especially, no doubt, within departments that get bigger budgets and among farmers who pay them to maintain the rural lifestyle.

I do not envy anyone who wants to live on earth – quite the contrary, in fact. Most of the principles that are stimulated are probably benign. But no sane voter should adopt forced inflationary grants to support the aspirations of others to return to the land. A “climate-smart” system – a self-adhesive ice cream cone if there was one – couldn’t stand the principles of collective good or efficient resource allocation. For example, of the $40 billion being spent, $19.5 billion is being spent supporting decades-old programs that were of dubious utility in the first place.

The times Highlights Lindsay Klaunig as a poster child for this incentive program. She and her partner bought a space that the Times admits was “unsuitable for farming,” and now, with “a little help from the Department of Agriculture,” is enjoying rural life in Trouvaille (“lucky search”) The farm (not to be confused with “Travaille”), she raises a small herd of grass-grazing cattle that alternately graze and makes small amounts of chocolate on her Appalachian ranch. “For Mrs. Klaunig, the practices yield practical benefits and adhere to her convictions.” Good for her, I say. She is clearly not foolish enough to leave free money on the table. The times He similarly admits, however, that “it remains to be seen whether widespread dissemination of such methods – as the Biden administration has sought to encourage – can truly reverse the effects of climate change.”

find luck” In fact. It’s much better, it seems, to just donate the money All Nearly 2 million farms nationwide. The $20,000 each likely would have done more for the economy and the environment, without adding to the heavy burden of bloated government agencies.

Paul Schwensen

Paul Schwensen is completing his PhD thesis in Environmental History and the Hispanic Conquest of the Arizona/New Mexico Borderlands. He holds a master’s degree in government from Harvard University and degrees in history and science from the United States Air Force Academy.

He is a regular contributor to the Center for Property and Environmental Research and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, American Spectator, Claremont Review, and in Textbooks on Environmental Ethics (Oxford and McGraw-Hill University Press). He is the father of, and most importantly, three delightful children.

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