American Society of Agronomy Ag Carbon Webinar:
August 12, 12 noon to 1pm Central Time
Climate Change … Carbon Sequestration … Green House Gases … What Does It All Mean and What Will Agriculture’s Role Be?
A Special Two-Part Online Seminar

Presenters: Howard Brown, Jerry Hatfield, Dave Miller, Charles Rice

Registration Now Open! Click here for more info.

July 8, 2009

Contact: Bernadette Logozar, CCE Franklin County, 518-483-7403
Martha Pickard, ANCA, 518-891-6200

NNY Ag Development Program Posts Carbon Offset Info, Calculator Online

Malone, NY -- The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted ag carbon offset and trading information online at www.nnyagdev.org. The effort is a partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA), Northern New York Farmers Partnership, Central NY Resource Conservation & Development Council (CNY RC&D) and Vermont Pasture Network at the University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

“These online resources are a way to help North Country farmers learn about ag carbon offset and trading options that may provide marketing, environmental stewardship or financial returns to them,” says Rural and Agricultural Development Specialist Bernadette Logozar with Cornell Cooperative Extension Franklin County, Malone, NY.

Ag carbon offset farming practices and ag carbon trading are ways to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG).

For example, a manufacturing company may offset its GHG emissions by purchasing carbon credits from a farmer, landowner or forest owner using land practices that reduce the emissions of such gases as nitrous oxide, methane or carbon dioxide.

Nitrous oxide released from nitrogen fertilizer, methane released from manure and cows’ rumens, and carbon dioxide released by the use of fossil fuels are three greenhouse gases associated with global warming concerns.

The types of practices that farmers can undertake to build carbon credits include no-till cropping, erosion control measures, use of buffer areas, and land reforestation.

Conservation practices on farms can be used for carbon sequestration - capturing and storing carbon dioxide in soil and vegetation. In some areas, farmers can capture enough of the gas for it to be worthwhile to sell the value of that sequestration as “carbon credits.”

Carbon credits are most often purchased by the industrial sector that needs to offset the amount of greenhouse gases its manufacturing practices release.

What value is there for Northern NY farmers in knowing about ag carbon offsets?
Based on Northern New York’s agricultural land base, carbon offset farming practices may have the greatest value for North Country farmers as a marketing tool and a means of practicing environmental stewardship.

“The greatest value of ‘carbon offset farming’ in the North Country will be educating the public about the environmental and economic benefits of this type of management and incorporating this message into a farm business marketing plan. At this time, ag carbon trading does not appear to provide a financial incentive to North Country grass farmers due to the relatively small farm acreages in the Northeast,” says ANCA Agriculture-Grazing Program Coordinator. Martha Pickard. “We hope in time that North Country producers will receive financial returns from carbon offset and trading options.”

In April 2009, Vermont Pasture Network Coordinator Dr. Rachel Gilker traveled to Northern New York to talk with the region’s farmers about carbon offset and carbon trading. Gilker says, “The farmers of Northern New York are clearly leaders in their interest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and in understanding the production benefits that come with these sustainable farming practices.”

Online Calculator Helps Dairy Farmers Figure Carbon Impact, Offset
At the NNY farmers meeting, Gilker shared an online Dairy Greenhouse Gases Model software tool that helps dairy producers calculate their carbon impact and offset opportunities. That model is among the online resources in the Dairy section of the website at www.nnyagdev.org.

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website also links to the Central NY Resource Conservation and Development Council ag carbon resource collection that includes fact sheets on sources of greenhouse gases in agriculture to contracts for selling ag carbon credits.

The Agricultural Environmental Management section of the NNYADP website also has whole farm nutrient management planning resources made possible by on-farm research in Northern New York conducted by Cornell’s Nutrient Management Spear Program. These resources are also helpful in reducing a farm’s GHG emissions.

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is a farmer-led research, education and technical assistance program for Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. # # #

Ag Carbon Resources Online at www.nnyagdev.org
The following information can be found online at www.nnyagdev.org:
• GHG is the abbreviation for greenhouse gases.*
• New York State contributes nearly 1 percent of the total global gas emissions (USEPA)*
• Dairying contributes approximately 2 percent of New York’s total greenhouse gas emissions*
• Agriculture contributes 20 percent to global gas emissions (IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)*
• Different manure handling systems produce different amounts of greenhouse gas emissions*
• The Kyoto Protocol is an international cap-and-trade agreement that limits a company’s amount of emissions output and allows buying and selling of emission offset credits*
• DairyGHG uses process-based relationships and emission factors to predict the primary GHG emissions from the production system.~

Key: * from resources provided by CNY RC&D; ~ from Dairy Greenhouse Gas Model