Report: U.S. Agriculture Can Do Much to Help Address Climate Change

A new report from the Farm Journal Foundation says that farmers have the potential to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and be part of the solution on climate change.

Report co-author John Reilly is with MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change says agriculture could become a net carbon sink.

“Cover crops help store carbon and also improve the soil. Various soil improvements. Better timing of fertilizer, precision agriculture. Nitrous oxide is a big source of greenhouse gas emissions. If you put the right amount of nitrogen, not too much, right where the plant needs it, near the plant. You won’t need as much nitrogen, save some money and reduce nitrous oxide emissions.”

The research says farming practices could sequester carbon, reducing methane emissions, and land could be used for renewable energy.

Reilly says the U.S. agriculture is responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, but could be a bigger part of the solution.

“The biggest gain might be from solar panels on out buildings, wind turbines in farmers’ fields, and biomass energy. That could supply maybe 40-50 percent of the country’s energy needs in a carbon-free manner.”

The report went on to say increasing funding for government programs, and enabling more farmers to participate would go a long way toward making the agricultural industry more sustainable.

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