Growing the impacts of climate-smart agriculture

Read the full story from the National Academies.

Roughly 11 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — mostly nitrous oxide and methane — can be traced to the nation’s agricultural sector.

A range of ‘climate-smart’ farming practices have the potential to lower that impact, and also help sequester carbon dioxide emitted by other parts of the economy. For example, planting cover crops in between plantings of cash crops can absorb CO2 into the soil, among other benefits. However, cover crops and other climate-smart practices aren’t yet the norm.

“I’m seeing more and more farmers getting on board,” said Mitchell Hora, a seventh-generation Iowa farmer, and founder and CEO of Continuum Ag. “The issue is, in the first couple years, it’s really tough. You’re changing your practices, but you’re changing your mindset as well.”

Hora was among the panelists at a recent webinar hosted by the National Academies, Scientific American, and Nature Portfolio that explored how to increase the use of climate-smart agricultural practices. Moderated by Scientific American’s Laura Helmuth and Andrea Thompson, the event was part of the annual Science on the Hill series of conversations, which connects policymakers with experts from the scientific community.

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