Supporting Smallholder Systems the Key to Mitigating Ag’s Impact on Climate Change

Yes, removing public subsidy of corporate concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and re-directing support to family-scale farmers would solve a number of problems including mitigating global climate change and providing justice and economic stability to the world’s small-scale farmers. This article from ‘Grain’ is chock full of pithy information. Jim

“The global food system accounts for 29% of today’s global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, say scientists, with meat and dairy responsible for most of it….

“Industrial livestock production is responsible for massive GHG emissions from fossil fuels, fertilizers, manure and large-scale deforestation and land degradation…

“Industrial meat and milk is kept artificially cheap through public funds and policies that externalize their real costs and prop up a continuous cycle of surplus production and trade…

“Corporate lobby groups, scientists and development agencies often paint small-scale livestock holders in poor countries as the climate culprits because of their animals’ low “efficiency” in converting calories to meat or milk on a per capita basis.

“Yet, a narrow focus on efficiency and emissions intensity ignores the multiple benefits of mixed, multifunctional and biodiverse small-scale livestock production systems. These include improving soil health, greater climatic resilience and other positive environmental and public health benefits.

“Small-scale meat and dairy production is already well tailored to local food systems that support the moderate meat and dairy consumption levels that the rest of the world must achieve…

“Industrial meat and dairy production is propped up by an enormous amount of taxpayer dollars—around $53 billion from OECD governments alone in 2013. China and Brazil also channel significant public funds into the growth of their own transnational meat and dairy corporations…

“Public funds should instead be directed to support small farmers that use integrated agroecological and pastoral production methods, and to help larger farmers transition towards these practices.

“Support should also go to building or rehabilitating local infrastructures (abattoirs, milk and meat processing, roads, sanitation, etc.) that help local livestock and dairy markets thrive…

“There are over 600 million small-scale farmers and 200 million herders who depend on livestock for their livelihoods and who feed billions of people every day with quality meat, dairy and eggs in a sustainable manner. They urgently need public attention and support!”

https://www.grain.org/article/entries/5692-two-ways-to-tackle-livestock-s-contribution-to-the-climate-crisis