Major agriculture companies have started enticing farmers to participate in their programs designed to sequester CO2 emissions, storing them deep underground.
Big ag is taking steps to mitigate the climate crisis by offering incentives to farmer and agricultural producers who can trap harmful carbon dioxide in the soil. Corporations like Nutrien Ltd, Yara, Cargill Inc, Bayer AG and others are, in fact, in competition with one another to get more farmers to join their programs.
Some of the ways that farmers can capture and store CO2 emissions involve planting off-season crops, using fertilizer more efficiently, and tilling the ground less. These practices are to be logged on digital platforms where the recorded data is used to generate a carbon credit.
In turn, agricultural companies can buy these credits to offset their own impact on the climate. Alternatively, they can also be sold to other businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprints.
The agriculture sector is responsible for roughly 17% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions, making it a critical industry that needs new practices to help slash emissions.
The new practices being promoted by carbon credit systems have the potential of resulting in 250 million tonnes of sequestered CO2 per year in the US alone. That is the equivalent of 4% of the country’s total emissions.
However, the involvement of giant corporations in these programs does give rise to suspicion among some farmers, as it will give them access to their harvest data that could potentially be used in order to try and sell them additional products.
On the other hand, there are critics skeptical of the farmers’ ability to guarantee the sequestered CO2 will in fact be kept underground, as simply turning the soil can result in it being released back into the atmosphere.
In their defense, the farming techniques necessary for such programs do give the additional promise of healthier soils and higher yields resulting from the lesser use of chemicals.