Re-grounding Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin as Line On Agriculture presents the Harvest Clean Energy Report.
In our series on Building the Biocarbon Economy, Patrick Mazza, Research Director for Climate Solutions takes a look at Re-grounding Agriculture: Restoring the Soil.
MAZZA: Since 2003 Washington State University has been running one of the countries most advanced scientific efforts to look at the relation of farming and climate. They've had three big goals. One is to reduce carbon emissions from farming. Another is to look at how farmers can improve the soil carbon content and a third is to look at ways where we can replace fossil fuel products with farm grown products.
After seven years of research WSU has released their report.
MAZZA: They primarily looked at dryland and they found some really interesting stuff. The did find that we could store lots of carbon in our northwest farm soils through various different ways of cultivation. The one that gets a lot of press is reduce tillage or no till which farmers are getting pretty familiar with. It's actually become pretty widespread in the Midwest.
Utilizing no till methods has grown greatly in popularity in the last several years and has helped ease erosion of farmland. But it slow to be adopted in the NW.
MAZZA: What they also found, the climate friendly farming people was there's other techniques that are even more effective than no till that might even have a wider application. Just the good old adding organic amendments to the soils, manures, compost, biosolids really increases the carbon content, the organic content of the soil.
My grandfather would always grab a handful of soil and say, "The blacker, the better."
MAZZA: The black in the soil indicates fertility and that's the carbon so the more we can do to improve the soil carbon the better it's going to be for farmers and creating the final link of creating some market for farmers to actually absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and put it into the soil is really – it's important. It's going to be a new crop for farmers as we develop that.
For additional information on clean energy or to read the reports on Building the Biocarbon Economy visit harvestcleanenergy.org. That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.