One could say it was a marriage made in manure, but how romantic is that?? So let’s step back to February 2022 when the seeds of this happy union were first sown.
At that time, a coalition of Wisconsin legislators, UW Ag.-business scholars, and biogas industry leaders came together. They saw several trends aligning to create the opportunity for a new path forward for our dairy state, a path to build a healthy, sustainable agriculture future. So they developed a legislative package called A-CEW. (www.wibiomass.org/acew to learn more.)
Let’s face it; the challenges of modern agriculture are extensive. Large CAFOs are gobbling up family farms. Nutrient run-off from manure and chemical fertilizers pollutes our lakes and ground water. Farming bankruptcies are rampant. Excessive carbon emissions in the atmosphere are wreaking havoc with the climate.
A-CEW (Agriculture – Carbon / Energy / Water) is an ingenious legislative package that uses 21st century technology and market-driven economics to address all of these challenges. Why is this the right time for A-CEW to be a success? It’s because of another set of letters - ESG (Environmental-Societal-Governance) reports. These are summaries of performance in these three areas for stakeholders and investors. In other words, these reports show how a company is impacting the wider community and environment.
Until the past couple years most companies treated ESG reports as window dressing or used them to “greenwash” their operations. No more! Today’s investors and consumers are demanding far more than just financial gains. They expect genuine progress in being a good neighbor in the world community. Savvy companies are paying attention to these expectations.
A-CEW policies would standardize pricing and production frameworks and set clear rules regarding ESG farming practices. Once these are in place, farmers can determine which markets and companies would reward them financially for enhancing their farm’s ESG practices. For example, farmers could determine if their bottom line would improve by introducing regenerative grazing practices or by investing in solar or a biogas digester.
2025 A.D. – Distant neighbors, Farmers Jones and Smith, invested in bio-digesters to supplement their farm income and reduce nutrient run-off. Mae Thane from Jones’ farm sailed down his gas pipeline and collided with Bye O’Ghass from Smith’s. It was love at first sight and one tiny step toward a cleaner, healthier world right here, where we’re all forever… Earthbound.