While carbon, specifically carbon dioxide, is important for crops, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Carbon dioxide makes up just .04% of our atmosphere, yet it serves some important functions. As a greenhouse gas, it’s responsible for absorbing the suns rays and keeping our planet warm enough for life to thrive. Additionally, it’s a critical component of photosynthesis, feeding our world’s plants.
Increased CO2 levels can even increase crop yields and improve their water efficiency in the short term.
Eventually, however, these positives are negated, especially when looking at the greater picture of agriculture. Higher temperatures, inconsistent precipitation, unseasonal weather, and decreased pollinator presence have all been linked to an increased presence of CO2 in the air.
Each of these also negatively impacts farmers and crop yields.
That’s why it’s in the best interest of farmers to control our world’s carbon levels. Unfortunately, many modern practices have actually caused an increase in carbon being released into the air. Agricultural expansion has led to deforestation, reducing carbon storage. Tillage releases carbon stored in the soil. And of course, modern farming equipment releases CO2 into the air through the burning of fossil fuels.
One way that farmers can actively reduce the amount of CO2 in the air is through carbon sequestration. There are two primary ways that carbon can be sequestered. The first is called geologic carbon sequestration, which involves capturing and storing CO2 underground where it becomes pressurized and eventually turns to liquid. Though effective, it’s also complicated and expensive.
The other method is biological sequestration. This is the process of utilizing vegetation, soil, wood, and aquatic environments like wetlands to store excess carbon. Both forms of sequestration are ultimately beneficial, but biological sequestration is much more accessible to farmers, especially through the Conservation Reserve Program.
With CRP, farmers and landowners can actively contribute to carbon sequestration while continuing to earn a profit on their land.
Sequestering Carbon Through CRP
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) offers market-based rental payments in exchange for taking marginal farmland out of active production and establishing native vegetation. Much of the conversion expenses are also covered under the program’s cost-share reimbursement. Whereas traditional farming actively releases carbon into the air and reduces soil’s ability to store carbon, establishing native vegetation through CRP restores soil health and promotes carbon sequestration.
On average, CRP sequesters 49 million tons of greenhouse gases per year. That’s equivalent to removing 9 million cars from the road.
Not only is CRP great for reducing our carbon footprint, but it restores soil health, provides habitat for local wildlife, and protects local water supplies. For those wanting to emphasize carbon sequestration, CRP seed mixes including switchgrass can be particularly effective. Under certain practices, switchgrass can also be hayed and used/sold as a renewable fuel source.
If you’re looking to sequester carbon through CRP, All Native Seed has the seed you need to ensure success. All of our mixes have been reprocessed for high-purity and come with the necessary tags for easy reporting. For high-quality CRP seed, you can browse our offerings here.
If you’d like a more hands-on help, our parent company offers full-service CRP solutions that includes seed selection, planting, herbicide application, and report submission for cost-share reimbursement.
Click here to learn more about how FDCE can help.
For any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at 888-224-2004 or firstname.lastname@example.org.