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Schrier bill aims to reduce methane emissions in “cow burps”

Congresswoman Kim Schrier (8th CD) announced today that she has introduced legislation to provide funds to study methods to reduce agricultural methane emissions, namely “cow burps,” by changing feeding regimes.

Research funded through the Research to Reduce Agricultural Methane Act would evaluate methods to reduce methane emissions in livestock through feed additives such as seaweed.

We are facing an unprecedented climate crisis and it falls on all of us to find creative solutions to this pressing problem,” said Rep. Schrier. “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.”

According to the bill, adding seaweed to diet changes in grain-to-forage ratio grinding and pelleting of feed the use of enzymes.

The bill cites the EPA’s 2018 Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, which shows that 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.

The EPA found that enteric fermentation represents 28% of domestic methane emissions. 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 equivalent to the emissions produced by 650 million cars.

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