STORIES IN THIS SERIES

AGRICULTURE

Cow manure: An unexpected climate solution

KERN COUNTY, Calif. — Historically one of the most polluting industries in California, dairy farms are fixing how they contribute to climate change.

And they are doing it with manure.

California is the country's dairy capital, pumping a fifth of America's milk. Those dairies, however, also produce more than half of the state's emissions of methane, a potent heat-trapping gas. It comes in roughly equal amounts from both the front of cows — in burps — and the back — in manure.
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CLIMATE

Beef cattle get a genetic makeover for a warming world

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For Raluca Mateescu, the battle against climate change involves an unusual task: breeding a better steak.

A researcher at the University of Florida, Mateescu is tweaking cattle genes to try to unlock one of the mysteries of Southern agriculture: developing a breed that can withstand the hot, humid weather that has become more pronounced due to climate change while still producing high-quality beef.

That's not so simple, said Mateescu, a native of Romania who came to the United States to study animal agriculture and is herself a fan of a good rib-eye.

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