Agriculture Helping to Reduce Carbon

Clint Thompson Environment


As the election year debate rages over reducing carbon and other pollution, agriculture’s advocates say the sector has already made a huge impact on pollution.

 Agriculture, under pressure to reduce pollution from animal waste, fertilizer and carbon emissions for decades, has made huge strides, according to agriculture leaders.

American Farm Bureau’s Andrew Walmsley says just in the past 20 to 30-years, EPA has recorded huge cuts in farm carbon emissions.

 “71-million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, that’s the equivalent of taking roughly 17 million cars off the road.”

Walmsley says crops and trees are key.

 “We are a net sink for carbon emissions, we’re actually sequestering carbon, and we recognize we can do more there. The thing that’s been impressive with American agriculture is that, in roughly two generations, we’ve increased our output by over 270%, while our inputs have remained flat.

While over 140-million farm acres are in federal conservation or wildlife habitat programs. But perhaps, he notes efficiency is the biggest asset.

 “You would have looked back to 1990…we would need 100 million more acres to produce the same amount of food that we produced in 2018.”  

Livestock producers use lagoons, filter strips, and other conservation practices to reduce runoff of animal waste; use waste as fertilizer and methane digesters to produce electricity.

(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)