Pay farmers to reduce carbon emissions


The fourth generation of Loren Poncia cattle breeders made the Stemple Creek ranch have positive carbon. He applied rotary systems for grazing cattle that enable the recovery of soil and grass, applied compost on pastures and planted worm and chicory farms that aerate the soil.

Courtesy of Paige Green

President Joe Biden he called on American farmers to fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions climate change – a goal that the fourth generation of Loren Poncia breeders intended to achieve more than ten years ago.

Despite working in the beef sector, a major contributor to global warming, Poncia has transformed its own Northern California Ranch in one of the few carbon-positive livestock farms in the country.

“It’s a win-win – for the environment and for our pocket book,” said Poncia, who adopted carbon farming practices through a partnership with Project Marin Carbon.

Experts estimate that farmers around the world can extract enough carbon through regenerative farming practices to prevent the worst consequences of climate change. Research suggests removing carbon already in the atmosphere and regenerating soil around the world may result in a 10% reduction in carbon. United Nations he warned that efforts to curb global emissions will fail without drastic changes in global land use and agriculture.

The Ponzi ranch releases more carbon than it emits through processes such as rotary livestock grazing systems that allow soil and grass to recover, by applying compost instead of chemical fertilizers to pastures to avoid cultivating and planting worm and chicory farms to aerate the soil. Such climate-friendly projects have enabled Pontius to grow more grass and produce more beef.

“If we as a world are to reverse the damage that has been done, it will be through agriculture and food sustainability,” Poncia said. “We’re excited and positive about the future.”

While some farmers, ranchers and foresters have already adopted sustainable practices that capture existing carbon and store it in the soil, others are wary of start-up costs and uncertain yields that can vary across states and agricultural operations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently said it would encourage farmers to apply such sustainable practices. And more researchers and companies have started better quantification and management carbon stored in the soil.

The push of the USDA towards carbon farming

The fight against climate change has become a matter of survival for American farmers who have endured large losses from floods and droughts which have become more frequent and destructive throughout the country.

In 2019, farmers lost tens of thousands of hectares during the historic floods. And NASA scientists report that the rise in temperature has led the western United States to the worst decades-long drought ever seen in the past millennium.

In the U.S. alone, agriculture accounts for more than 10.5% of greenhouse gas emissions that heat the planets, according to estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency.

As a result, the Biden administration now wants to direct $ 30 billion in aid money from the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation to pay farmers for implementing sustainable practices and capturing carbon in their soil.

This file from Monday, March 18, 2019, shows floods and underwater storage bins on a farm along the Missouri River in rural Iowa north of Omaha, Neb.

AP Photo | National Security and Emergency Management in Iowa

Biden’s candidate for the American Minister of Agriculture, Tom Wilsack, who promised to help in the meeting Biden’s broader plan to achieve a zero-to-zero economy by 2050He said the money could go to create new markets that encourage producers to separate carbon into the soil.

Former president Donald Trump previously eavesdropped on those means to save farmers damaged by his trade wars with China, Mexico, and Canada lowering commodity prices.

Using CCC money to create a carbon bank may not need congressional approval, and agricultural lobby groups are expected to persuade Congress to expand the fund.

“It is an excellent tool for us to create a structure that will inform future farm accounts of what will encourage carbon sequestration, what will encourage precision agriculture, what will encourage soil health and regenerative farming practices,” Vilsack said in his. Senate confirmation hearing in February.

Vilsack, who spent eight years as agriculture minister to President Barack Obama, also asked Congress for an advisory group of farmers to help build a carbon market and ensure farmers receive benefits.

The administration’s efforts to encourage carbon capture on farms could strengthen a new market for reducing emissions on farms and technological advances that help growers improve soil health and participate in carbon trading markets.

Emerging market

Some farmers have started partnerships with non-profit environmental and political groups to work on environmental sustainability. The movement is also gaining increasing support from private companies.

Indigo Ag, a start-up that advocates for the practices of regenerative agriculture, said corporations like Barclays, JPMorgan Chase i Shopify they committed to buying agricultural carbon credits to help growers with the costs of transition.

Chris Harbourt, global carbon leader at Indigo Ag, said the company is working with growers to address financial barriers during the transition and provide education on how to apply regenerative farming practices, such as planting off-season cover crops or switching to unprocessed farming.

“Growers who adopt regenerative practices see benefits beyond financial as well,” Harbourt said. “The soil is healthier and more elastic, which creates more opportunities for profitable years even when the weather conditions are challenging.”

More than CNBC environment:
Biden’s climate agenda will face major hurdles with an evenly divided Senate
Climate change has cost the United States billions of dollars in flood damage

Erik Fyrwald, CEO of Syngenta, a Swiss seed and crop protection company, said government policies must provide appropriate incentives to farmers to speed up the transition to regenerative agriculture.

“Incentives need to be sufficient and reliable enough to give farmers the confidence to make the necessary investments to apply this practice on their farm,” Fyrwald said.

Poncia, who has twice received state funding from the California Healthy Soil Program to implement sustainable practices on his ranch, said he hopes the administration can provide enough support to the agricultural sector so other people can achieve similar results.

“The farming community wants to support this movement, but they need help, education and the ability to reduce risk,” Poncia said. “If the government supports farmers who do well, everyone else will follow suit.”


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