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Breeder’s Journal: There are things farmers can do that would make a difference.

Dave Nanda

November 20, 2019

3 Min Read
tractor and planter planting into green cover crops
COVER CROPS HELP: Cover crops improve your soil while helping pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Why are millions of younger people marching all over the world, asking older generations to make changes to reduce pollution and carbon dioxide emissions for an improved global climate?

When talking about climate change, some people think about local weather. It really doesn’t directly refer to local weather. The increase in carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere by excessive use of fossil fuels has raised the temperature of the earth’s surface. This is affecting the global climate and causing more storms, hurricanes, excessive rains, floods and even droughts that can’t be explained purely by natural causes.

July 2019 was the hottest July ever recorded. Our use of fossil fuels has tremendously increased carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, which may have warming effects in the environment. According to scientific data, there’s about 410 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere. We’re adding 2 ppm per year. At the current rate, we’ll have 474 ppm of carbon dioxide by 2050. Some climate scientists believe 500 ppm of carbon dioxide will approach dangerous levels for humans.

NASA scientists and more than 97% of climate researchers agree that climate change is real and use of fossil fuels is one of the main causes. It’s not just the temperature that will be affected. Look for changes in precipitation patterns. Sea levels are likely to have much greater impact on human life. Unless drastic changes are made soon by every country, I expect more fires, hurricanes, tropical storms and tornadoes will happen.

Many countries are increasing use of solar panels and wind turbines to collect energy for reducing and replacing fossil fuels to reduce levels of carbon dioxide. This will also help to reduce pollution in those countries and make their atmospheres cleaner and healthier.

What farmers can do

So how can farmers help economically in reducing carbon dioxide and adding more oxygen to the atmosphere? If you’re not planting cover crops, consider doing so soon. It will not only improve your soil, but also reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and add oxygen.

If you use some legumes as part of your cover crop mix, they could add nitrogen that may be used by the following crop.

If you have wooded areas on your farm, replace dead trees whenever you can. If you have some extra space on the hills, planting trees will add value to your farm. Trees will also reduce carbon dioxide and add oxygen to the atmosphere. Again, the idea is to capture more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, bury it in the ground and improve your farmstead while helping climate change.

If you have a building with a roof facing the sun most of the day, contact your local electric company to see if they would like to put solar panels on your barn or other buildings at their expense. Perhaps they would share the energy collected from the panels and supply free electricity for your operation. Some farmers I know are reaping advantages from their buildings this way.

Nanda is director of genetics for Seed Genetics-Direct, Jeffersonville, Ohio. Email him at [email protected] or call 317-910-9876. The views expressed here by the author do not necessarily represent the views of Farm Progress.

About the Author(s)

Dave Nanda

Dave Nanda is director of genetics for Seed Genetics Direct, Jeffersonville, Ohio. Email [email protected] or call 317-910-9876. Please leave a message.

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