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Western Region
July 29, 2014
Upcoming LPELC Webinars

The Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center


Waste to Worth 2015 Conference:

Advancing Sustainability in Animal Agriculture


Find more info, register and submit an abstract at:



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Welcome to the Animal Agriculture in a Changing Climate Western Region e-newsletter containing current news and relevant information regarding agriculture and climate change that you might have missed.


Be sure to visit www.animalagclimatechange.org for new information and resources including current videos, fact sheets and new blog posts from our friends in the Midwest and Southeast.


If you haven't done so already... register for a fall session of the free Animal Agriculture and Climate Change online course! Scroll to the bottom of the page or visit the website to find more information.

Mark Your Calendars! Waste to Worth 2015: Advancing Sustainability in Animal Agriculture
You are invited to attend the International Conference on Livestock & Poultry Environmental Quality at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle, WA from March 30 - April 3, 2015. Join a national network of agricultural professionals for four days of technical sessions, tours, networking, and social events featuring the indigenous culture of Puget Sound.  Oral, poster, panel, and workshop proposals address the general themes of air, water & soil quality, watershed management, research & outreach, and climate change will be accepted through September 15, 2014.


Sessions will feature:

  • environmental quality & soil health
  • manure nutrient management
  • manure treatment technologies
  • feed management
  • manure value & economics
  • anaerobic digestion
  • and much more

To find out more, register for the conference, submit an abstract, become a vendor or sponsor, and make hotel reservations visit www.wastetoworth.org

If you haven't already heard... beef production has a larger environmental impact compared to poultry and swine...
If you've avoided all screens and print since the end of last week, you might have missed the media attention that an article received, titled: "Land, irrigation, water, greenhouse gas, and reactive nitrogen burdens of meat, eggs, and dairy production in the United States" which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Eshel et. al., 2014). The research quantifies the environmental impact of food animal production through use of water, land, nitrogen and emissions of greenhouse gases. Overwhelmingly, the calculations in the article demonstrate that beef production has by far, the largest environmental cost when compared to other livestock sectors. The authors of the article then direct this information and their scientific argument over to the direct role that the consumer plays in sustainability when visiting and making decisions at the grocery store. Implying that by choosing plant based protein sources or even any animal based protein other than beef, the consumer has much less of an environmental impact and does their part in promoting a sustainable environment. Although no one from the scientific community doubts that a chicken isn't larger than a cow and obviously uses less resources and has less associated emissions than a large animal; the consumers role in this big picture of environmental sustainability might be slightly unbalanced when weighing only environmentally motivated dietary choices. Consumers make decisions whether or not to be environmentally conscious when making decisions and purchasing many items that have an environmental impact which should be considered into this equation. These decisions include but exceed the obvious, being the type, frequency and distance of personal or public transportation, long distance travel, frequency and efficiency of using household appliances to everyday lifestyle choices. Another example would be whether or not to pay more for clothes and items manufactured in the US vs. purchasing less expensive clothes and items manufactured in a foreign country knowing that foreign countries are extremely lenient when it comes to pollution, emissions and discarding of waste materials.  
To demonstrate how beef cows play a role in a sustainable environment, and even be part of the solution to climate change, the Marin Carbon Project showcases the mitigation of carbon emissions on rangeland in northern California. John Wick, a ranch owner and land manager in Marin County, CA, and Dr. Jeff Creque, a rangeland ecologist have teamed up with University of CA, Berkeley to quantify atmospheric carbon in the soil after just one compost application on Wick's ranch.  The increase in soil carbon from atmospheric carbon, forage yields and the increase in the soil water holding capacity from the land which received the one application of compost is tremendous. To see the Marin Carbon Project presentation, data, and for more information, please click on this link.
Wildfire Destruction in the Northwest
Although crews have reported good progress in containing massive fires in north-central Washington that have burned for more than 10 days, officials on Friday confirmed that some 300 homes were destroyed in the inferno, double what they had previously estimated. "It's every road. Every road lost something," Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers told Associated Press. "It looks like a moonscape; there's nothing left. There's hundreds of dead livestock. It's horrifying." The fire, known as the Carlton Complex, is the largest in Washington state's history, having eclipsed the 1902 Yacolt Burn in southwest Washington. The blaze was sparked by lightning on July 14 and has since raged through nearly 400 square miles of wilderness in Methow Valley, a popular spot for fishers and hikers located about 180 miles northeast of Seattle.
Cows need relief, too.One of the less-told stories about the massive Carlton Complex Fire in Okanogan County - the one that has burned down 300 homes and scorched nearly 400 square miles - is how badly cattle have been affecteomd.
People come first, but the state's largest fire in history has killed hundreds of cows and left the survivors with little pasture in the Methow Valley, where ranching is one of the economic pillars. 
The Depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer and the Effects on a Region that Helps Feed the World

NASA Earth Observatory- California Drought (NASA)

Now in its third year, the drought in California grows worse with each month. 2013 was the driest calendar year in 119 years of records, and 2014 has not brought much relief, even as scientists and residents wait hopefully for El Niņo moisture. From stream gauges and reservoir levels to ground-based photos and satellite images, the landscape seems to grow browner and drier with each month.
In a weekly report issued on July 17 by the U.S. Drought Monitor, the entire state of California was classified as being in severe drought. The situation was declared extreme for 79 percent of the state's land area and exceptional in 36 percent. 


 #DroughtShaming (CBS News Video)

California's drought is so severe, residents could soon face $500 fines for wasting water. That's given rise to a new phenomenon known as "drought shaming," which has residents snitching on their neighbors, CBS News correspondent Carter Evans reports.
In drought-stricken California, brown is the new green for lawns at the state capital in Sacramento, and the hotline to report water wasters is flooded with calls.

Animal Agriculture and Climate Change Online Course
Want to learn more about climate science, greenhouse gases, mitigation strategies, carbon markets, and communication strategies to talk about this controversial issue? This free 12-hour, self-paced course is ideal for Extension educators and other professionals looking to develop and expand their understanding of climate change and its implications for livestock and poultry production. Have a burning question or concern about climate change but don't know who to ask? Interact with course instructors who have a range of backgrounds and expertise. Register Now for the new September session!
Know of anyone who should receive this email? Please contact:

Liz Whitefield
Washington State University
Livestock Nutrient Management Program