Musings of a Real Texas Cowgirl

This blog contains the thoughts of a real Texas cowgirl. They may pertain to politics, religion, or life in general. If anything herein offends you, please go to another blog. If you disagree with anything herein, kindly use facts and intelligent argument. Anyone making personal attacks against Cowgirl or any commenter will be banned.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Got Chicken? Got Beef? Got Milk? Enjoy It While You Can

In a staff column posted today at Townhall, entitled EPA Targets Cows, Grows Government, it seems that the EPA is proposing to tax greenhouse gases, which are gases that are naturally produced. The article explains that:
... they (the EPA) propose to tax agriculture for greenhouse emissions. For smaller animals like hogs, the tax would be $20 per year. For the largest animals, the tax would be over $100 per year.


It goes on to say that:
The Department of Agriculture, to its credit, came out with a statement that taxing family farms would cause undue hardship leading to failure; few family farms have financial room for additional taxes.


OK. As a small farmer/rancher, beef producer and occasional pork producer, let me ask you a few questions.

1. Do you like pork (the 4 legged variety not the D.C. type)?

2. Do you enjoy a glass of milk, a bit of butter, cream, or ice cream?

3. Do you eat beef?

4. Do you eat chicken?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then you better start raising cain with you elected representatives.

Pork is the most expensive meat to raise. It is labor intensive. There is a reason why the phrase "eats like a pig" came into being. Pigs eat. A lot. Now when a person raises pigs naturally like I do, it really becomes labor intensive. Here's why. Now remember, I raise a quality product. When raising pigs, first I must have a milk goat, which I hand-milk twice a day. I also must have chopped corn, because I feed the little buggers goat milk and chopped corn, twice a day, for the first 4 months of their lives. It gets them off to a healthy start. Afterwards, they are fed chopped corn twice a day and run around the pastures and woodlots eating nuts, worms, and whatever else pigs eat naturally. Since the brilliant powers that be seem to think that using corn to run cars is the greatest idea since jelly beans, the price of corn has skyrocketed. Oh, there is a lot, and I mean A LOT more corn being produced, but it is neither used nor priced as feed corn. That is why the price of pork is already outrageous. You add another $20 per animal in taxes (plus whatever the tax is on the goat), and there won't be many producers who can afford to raise pork and there won't be many people who will be able to afford to buy it.

Our main business is producing grass-fed beef. Most years this is no big deal. However, the last few years it has been pretty dry and during the winter we must feed hay. When hay was $20 per big round bale, that was fine. During drought conditions, the cost of hay can increase up to $100 per round bale. Then, every now and then you have to call the vet out, because of, well.... it could be anything: a cow got wire wrapped around a leg, stuck in the mud somewhere, or a calving gone dreadfully wrong. Any of those are big vet bills. Even with a quality, in-demand product like chem-free grass-fed beef, we don't make a ton of $$ raising them. Again, you add $100 per year per animal, and it is cost-prohibitive to raise them.

Chickens are not too bad to raise, but they are totally stupid. And chickens die. I've had one that died laying an egg, although, granted, it was really a HUGE egg. The beautiful red-tail hawks, just love chicken too. And don't forget about coyotes and dogs passing through for a little free food and sport. Chicken feed, like all other feed, due to the aforementioned use of corn for fuel, again makes it almost cost prohibitive to raise them, and that's without the proposed EPA taxes.

So, here's my question. Do you like to eat? If so, will you be able to afford to buy food when all of the small, independent producers are out of business, and all food production is controlled by a few huge agribusiness corporations?

It seems to me that we are talking population control here. When food crops are grown but their use is diverted to fuel production, that leads to starvation. Which leads to riots. Which leads to martial law. Which leads to .... well.... you can see where this all leads.

Please, get on the horn, write letters, or send emails to the EPA, your elected representatives, anyone you can think of, and let's try to shut this insane idea down before it takes root.

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