Agriculture could play a prominent role in U.S. efforts to address climate change if farms and ranches undertake activities that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, according to a new report by USDA’s Economic Research Service.

These activities may include shifting to conservation tillage, reducing the amount of nitrogen fertilizer applied to crops, changing livestock and manure management practices, and planting trees or grass.

The federal government is considering offering carbon offsets and incentive payments to encourage rural landowners to pursue these climate-friendly activities as part of a broader effort to combat climate change. The extent to which farmers adopt such activities would depend on their costs, potential revenues and other economic incentives created by climate policy.

Existing federal conservation programs provide preliminary estimates of the costs of agricultural carbon sequestration.

More information.

Source: USDA Economic Research Service