Stay with me here. My compadres on AgriTalk are no strangers to climate change denial. In fact, Chip recently invoked a classic counterpoint: natural causes. Luckily there has been enough research done to put that to bed.
Mostly I'm noticing many farmers in various levels of the classic climate change 5-Step Program.
- Deny the problem.
- OK, there's a problem, but we're not the cause.
- OK, it's happening and we're the big cause but we'll just adapt.
- OK, it's real and we cause it, but it's too big to fix.
- OK, it's real, we cause it, but it's too late.
Mostly I just avoid the issue for now. But regardless where producers are, Sen. Grassley made a curious statement that I think could change a lot of farmer minds overnight.
Grassley said the Resource Conservation Act, requiring some conservation practices with government programs, has led to reduced soil erosion and loss of nutrients with it."That's one example where the law works. But where a law isn't going to work: Do people think government can do anything when it's going to rain 10 inches?"It's not the fault of the farmer. God determines if it's going to rain 10 inches. It's a little like EPA wanting to establish a rule over fugitive dust," an abandoned proposal that would have required farmers to limit how much dust they create. "Do you realize that only God determines when the wind blows? And when soybeans are 13 percent (moisture), you have to combine. And when you combine, you're going to have dust."You can't have some silly regulation out of Washington, telling you what to do and what not to do," Grassley said. [More]
It's only a small step from here to blaming nutrient runoff on climate change. In the process, I think a lot of farmers would like to finally get past the uncomfortable anti-science position that currently passes for ag dogma on climate change. If we can dodge responsibility for where our fertilizer and manure end up, then a) we can argue we shouldn't have to stop doing what we want, and b) if we do, somebody else (like, say taxpayers) should pay us to do so.
Since it's not our fault.
It's Climate Change.
Which we would have always believed in, but it just wasn't explained to us right.