By Kinsie Rayburn

Agriculture as a carbon sink?

February 22, 2021

“Land management is the second largest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions on planet earth”- The Carbon Cycle Institute (CCI)

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, there are 899,500,000 acres of farmland in the United States. Farmland falls under the term “land management” used by CCI. This means that agriculture has the potential to play a big role in carbon sequestration, going from Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emitting to CO2 capturing.

The USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) created a ranking tool that uses a 9 step, sliding scale to gauge how certain agricultural practices impact Greenhouse Gas emissions and Carbon Sequestration. The practices found to have the highest potential for sequestering carbon included cover cropping, no-till, stirp till, and direct seed, and nutrient management. 

Estimates show that not only does agriculture have the potential to reduce its overall greenhouse gas emissions, but could actually become net-negative, helping contribute to overall climate mitigation needs. And we’re already on our way. In research recently conducted by Trust In Food™ on how leaders in ag retailer are impacting the adoption of  conservation agricultural products and practices, it was found that more than three-quarters of the 73 ag retail respondents recommend these very practices, through soil tests, in-season nitrogen, nitrification inhibitors, and cover cropping. 

The challenges are real and the timeframe is long but the potential for improvement is great- 899,500,000 acres of potential, to put a number to it.

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