Congress aims to increase soil carbon

National Association of Wheat Growers,

Agri-Pulse: Look to the Soil, Committee Told

House lawmakers who are searching for ways farmers can help address climate change are focusing on the potential benefits of increasing soil carbon. “Soils store two to three times more CO2 than the atmosphere and two to five times more carbon than that stored in vegetation,” Jennifer Moore-Kucera, a climate expert with American Farmland Trust, told the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis at a hearing. Former National Corn Growers Association President Fred Yoder said improving soil health benefits the environment and the grower. Another witness, Tina Owens, director of agriculture at Danone North America, put it this way after the hearing: “Soil health is central to climate change mitigation.” But the witnesses and panel members also emphasized the need for reliable metrics to accurately measure reductions in ag emissions of nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide.

What’s next: A House committee that’s focused on climate change issues is accepting comments until Nov. 22 to help it craft recommendations for Congress by March. Asked after the hearing how large a role agriculture would play in those recommendations, committee chair Kathy Castor of Florida said, “Stay tuned.”

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