Conservation Practices Proven to Lower Carbon Footprint in Recent Study

Brian German Agri-Business, USDA-NRCS

A recent study from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) shows how effective conservation practices are in addressing emission levels. The study incorporates data collected between 2004 and 2018. As climate issues remain a priority, the figures from the study detail the role that agriculture has in addressing climate concerns.

conservation practices

“That study reveals that our conservation practices are definitely helping the environment, helping the climate, and helping reduce greenhouse gases,” said Carlos Suarez, State Conservationist for NRCS in California. “The study shows that more than 367,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide were sequestered using these conservation practices that were installed on working lands; protecting farms, ranches, and forestlands.”

The average Californian produces a carbon footprint of 9.256 metric tons of CO2 annually. Conservation approaches taken by agricultural producers have helped to offset the annual carbon footprint of nearly 40,000 Californians. Voluntary conservation actions that were taken resulted in the equivalent of removing a years’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions from more than 79,000 passenger vehicles.

The study analyzed 28 different conservation techniques that have helped address climate conditions. There were several notable practices that had a significant impact. Composting, cover cropping, installation of pollinator hedgerows, and implementing no-till approaches have been critical in address climate concerns. Farmers and ranchers have been increasingly adopting more conservation approaches over the past 10 years.

NRCS has been instrumental in helping agricultural producers implement various conservation practices in their operations. Suarez described the relationship between NRCS and agriculture as a “win-win.” Farmers and ranchers enjoy a multitude of benefits through adopting conservation techniques and climate conditions continue to improve with further implementation.

“That goes to show that NRCS and the conservation practices demonstrate how working lands can voluntarily reduce emissions and also become a climate solution,” Suarez noted. “Those programs have grown exponentially because it shows that voluntary conservation does work and our farmers, ranchers, and forest users are a testament to that.”

Listen to the interview below.

About the Author

Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West