Panel discusses role of agriculture in carbon sequestration | News, Sports, Jobs
Farmfest visitors witnessed a demonstration of a self-contained “Cowbot” mower by UMWCROC and Toro Co.
GILFILLAN ESTATE – A panel of farm leaders discussed climate change, carbon sequestration, carbon credits, agricultural policy incentives and conservation programs at Farmfest Tuesday.
Most panelists agreed that public and private partnerships are the way forward on carbon sequestration, removal, capture and long-term sequestration of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to slow or reverse carbon dioxide air pollution and mitigate or reverse the climate. change.
“It has to be a public-private partnership”, said Jason Weller, vice president of the Land O’Lakes Truterra division.
“It takes more resources to do it. Public resources alone are not enough ”, said Kris Johnson, interim director of The Nature Conservancy.
“It’s the Wild West out there now. We need private companies involved ”, Buffalo Lake farmer Brian Ryberg said.
Ulm’s new crop consultant Steve Commerford said farmers have done a good job over time on conservation if they have the tools they need.
“I would like policies to be guided by science, and not science by policies” said Commerford. “The only way to accomplish carbon sequestration is to be very efficient and have high yields. “
Farmfest educational forum coordinator Kent Thiesse asked how to tell if companies are keeping huge benefits and paying farmers too little.
“Land O’Lakes is a service and marketing cooperative. There are a lot of discoveries in progress ”, said Weller. “You are sitting on a new income opportunity. You need good tests to measure the amount of carbon in the soil. “
Johnson said it’s not just carbon, but also water, water quality, and soil health components to improve water retention in the soil.
“I quantify it as a BB in a covered wagon” said Commerford. “Right now the technology is not there.”
Minnesota Department of Agriculture commissioner Thom Petersen said loans for best farm management practices are available for no-till equipment.
Petersen also mentioned the Forever Green Initiative, a University of Minnesota and USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) program aimed at developing new crops and high-efficiency cropping systems.
“Reduced tillage has really taken off in recent years”, said Petersen. “But I am very concerned about the drought. It is difficult to see farmers selling cattle. We will back down if we lose livestock in the next few years.
An Iowa farmer and former president of the National Association of Conservation Districts, Tim Palmer, said growers need to make a 10% profit or the market will dry up.
“Can we affect the climate? I do not know,” Palmer said.
He said the international market will set the prices for the carbon credits companies will pay.
Petersen said the next Farm Bill will be very different from the current one.
“The more I listen, the more I’m afraid” said Commerford. “A lot of things just don’t make sense. The soil is a dynamic system. Some are long term. The rest is quite short-lived.
Weller said carbon sequestration must be voluntary and collaborative.
“I think we have the tools to do it right. Don’t get mad at the money ”, said Weller.
A farmer asked for specific measurements.
“I think there is a way to do it,” said Petersen.
“People pay us to find out” said Weller. “There is a lot of in-depth science going on to get the best out of what is possible for farmers. It will change. I think we are heading in the right direction.
Commerford said modeling is not a science, it needs to be validated.
“Removing sulfur from fuel has created serious difficulties for agriculture … We can have very serious consequences”, said Commerford.
“I think it’s going to happen. Talking about problems is useful ”, said Petersen.
“I think it’s a great topic for agriculture. I am delighted that Land O’Lakes is part of the trip ”, said Weller.
“It’s a border. A possibility. Science is still evolving ”, Johnson said. “The key is to do it at a price low enough that there is money left for the producers. The projects are being done now. The highway code is still being defined. “
“Isn’t science always meant to learn more? “ KDHL moderator and agricultural director Jerry Groskreutz asked. “Do the right thing. Talk to others. Feel good about it.
Wednesday’s 1:10 pm educational session focuses on overhauling America’s energy system and how the expansion of ethanol, biodiesel and other renewable fuels fits into the clean energy plan; and the opportunities and limitations of wind, solar and electric power.
Fritz Busch can be emailed to [email protected]