WIUM Tristates Public Radio

USDA Works with Farmers to Cut Greenhouse Gases

Feb 13, 2013

A program across Illinois and Iowa is looking at ways for farmers to help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they produce, and to be compensated for it.

The program explores ways farmers can change the way they apply nitrogen fertilizer to reduce the amount of nitrous oxide gas that is created.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is partnering with a fertilizer industry trade group on the project.

Theo Gunther is a project coordinator with the Fertilizer Institute. He said the program looks at a farmer's current practices and identifies ways in which he or she can modify factors such as the time or amount of nitrogen applied.

Credit Credit: Lynne Betts, USDA/NRCS)

"What we're trying to do is demonstrate and develop the process for measuring what benefits are occurring and add that on to what potential agronomic gains the grower could have from adopting these practices," Gunther said.

He said the yield benefits are usually small from the change in practices. Though, Gunther said, those benefits aren't the primary goal of the program.

He said once farmer can quantify greenhouse gas reductions from the new practices they would be able to sell emissions credits based on that number.

Signup for the program ends February 15th but may be extended.