Latest EPA Data Shows Agriculture Continues to Improve

News / Newsline April 21, 2022

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The American Farm Bureau Federation is celebrating Earth Day by highlighting agriculture’s role in reducing greenhouse gases. Micheal Clements shares more on how agriculture is making a difference.

Clements: Earth Day gives farmers and ranchers a chance to celebrate their conservation efforts that are helping reduce emissions. Shelby Myers, American Farm Bureau Federation Economist, says data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows agriculture consistently accounts for just ten percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Myers: The other thing that we have is the ability for us to sequester greenhouse gas emissions, and our land use, land use change and forestry sector represents about negative 12.7 percent, which means pulling those emissions out of the air, and it increased year over year by four percent from 2019 to 2020. And so, when you combine our ability to sequester greenhouse gases with staying just ten percent, were actually at negative two percent overall.

Clements: Myers says conservation efforts by farmers are reducing emissions.

Myers: Agriculture continues to make great strides in its ability to implement voluntary conservation practices and we've seen these be very successful over the last couple of years, and in particular it's led to a year over year reduction in agricultural emissions from 2019 to 2020 by at least 4.3 percent.

Clements: She says there’s plenty of things for farmers and ranchers to celebrate.

Myers: Our ability to do more with less is certainly something to be celebrated. Since 1990, per capita emissions for agriculture has decreased 20 percent. That means we're feeding more people and we're producing at a high efficiency, but also doing it in ways that are conserving resources and taking care of our land and natural resources, so ag continues to show itself as a strong partner in reducing greenhouse gases.

Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.

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