Overlooked: Copenhagen’s Ag Day Similar To Heisman Trophy Presentation

For those not familiar with Denmark’s time zone, it is six hours ahead of Ohio’s eastern time. So when I wanted to watch the Heisman Trophy announcement, I realized I had to stay up until 3 a.m. to see if my choice, Ndamokong Suh (I am a Cornhusker fan), pulled off an upset.

Although I have no problem with Mark Ingram winning the award, I can’t understand how Colt McCoy finished a close third and far ahead of the player who dominated him in a head-to-head matchup. Mr. Suh, the most dominant player in college football this year in my opinion, was simply ignored by a vast majority of voters. Do Heisman voters actually watch the games? Do they understand what they are watching?

The entire Heisman voting process reminded me of the COP 15 Ag Day that I participated in yesterday here in Copenhagen. Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) brought together policy makers, climate-change negotiators, rural-development practitioners, farmers, civil society, scientific community and academia.

From the outset of ARDD, it was obvious that U.S. agriculture, the most dominant “player,” was not being looked at by the rest of the world as being a leader in terms of providing opportunities for farmers in this new arena. My observation was that the participants of ARDD believe the focus should be on farmers in developing countries that have struggled for decades in producing food and feed and criticizing Western Civilization agriculture for being too productive.

I was shocked, to say the least. Here we have the world’s leader in producing food, feed and fuel from crops, the world’s leader in utilization of new technology and the world’s leader in efficient production practices that offer the best bet for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction. Sadly, the ARDD participants (much like Heisman voters) decided to ignore the obvious.

Worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture account for 14 percent of all GHG emissions, but of that 14 percent, over 74 percent of the agriculture-based GHG emissions come from developing countries. It is obvious that U.S. farmers have been and will continue to do their job, but the rest of the world believes the U.S. should pay to bring everyone to their level. Fred Yoder and I had a chance to meet one on one with a U.S. negotiator and it became clear that developing countries want the U.S. to shoulder much of the load in GHG mitigation.

With that being said, the U.S. agriculture sector was not engaged as the most “dominant” player at this conference. Although U.S. agriculture interests from a small number of sectors participated, much of U.S. agriculture (like Heisman voters) decided to take the safe path and continue playing (voting) as if the playing field hasn’t changed, instead of taking a hard and bold look (voting) at how U.S. farmers can play in the new worldwide arena. Shame on us.

One segment I was surprised to learn that has realized the time is now to learn how to function in this new environment was the fertilizer industry. Representatives of the fertilizer industry shared with me their development of nitrous oxide emission-reduction protocols for farmers as well as other GHG mitigation tools for farmers. OCGA will continue to learn more and share this development.

One speaker, Tim Searchinger, who has often maligned corn farmers and corn ethanol, had a chance to present his latest paper in a mini-session. Corn farmers should note that two of your leaders, Darin Ihnen, NCGA President, and Fred Yoder, both spoke out against Mr. Searchinger’s  data and conclusions in his session, and their comments were roundly echoed by other scientists in the room.

As I sign off, I’d like to congratulate Ndomakong Suh for an excellent season and to say to Colt McCoy … Roll Tide!



2 Responses to “Overlooked: Copenhagen’s Ag Day Similar To Heisman Trophy Presentation”

  1. Mike Deering Says:

    This blog is great! Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

    Mike Deering
    U.S. Grains Council

  2. Eric Jackson Says:

    I think a big part of the problem is the collective Farm Bureau position resisting carbon legislation. As long as the US producer groups aren’t willing to be a positive participant we shouldn’t be surprised if the international community continues to discount the important contributions that US agriculture can make to the solution.

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