Farmers say "livestock emission" tax stinks - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Farmers say "livestock emission" tax stinks

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- It's a subject many don't like to talk about, but imagine getting taxed every time you burp or break wind? That's what livestock producers are facing -- a tax on their animals.

It's a rather natural process -- what goes in must come out -- but according to the EPA there's no pardon for cattle, saying farmers should pay for their livestock's methane release.

"When President Bush was president, he was working on reducing green house gases and methane gas is listed as a greenhouse gas. Which have therefore tied that to the livestock, because methane is what most of these animals are producing," said Farmer's Coop Society resource specialist Jeff Koops.

In an effort to reduce those greenhouse gases, the EPA has been considering a plan that would tax livestock producers for the methane gas their animals produce. The plan, known as the Gas Tax or Cow Tax, would place a tax on larger livestock operations. However, in an already struggling economy, some in the ag industry say this tax would be a devastating blow to producers.

"You add $25 added cost to a hog, you know, right now people are losing money already that's just going to put them out of business real fast," Koops said.

Koops says if the tax would go through, it's not just the producers that would face higher costs but this would have an effect on everyone's pocketbook.

"The cost of production is obviously going to go up for milk or meat and that would be passed on to the consumer so you would see defiantly a rise in the cost of meat or milk in the supermarket," Koops said.

Many legislatures from states where livestock production is higher, like Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota are working on legislation that opposes this tax, but the decision on whether the tax will be imposed is a little foggy.

"The EPA says they are not going to pass this rule, but nothing has been put in writing yet," Koops said.

According to Koops, until something is put in writing, livestock producers will remain cautiously optimistic that breaking wind will remain an untaxed process.

A statement from the National Pork Producers Council says the EPA's plan to require livestock producers to report manure-related greenhouse gas emissions is not well thought out and could increase environmental problems.

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