Climate Smart Farming Resource

Farm Energy, Carbon, and Greenhouse Gases

The Farm, Energy, Carbon, and Greenhouse Gas Fact Sheet provides useful information on the challenges, opportunities, and best management practices surrounding these topics.

Below we have listed a brief introduction of topics and a summary management practices covered in the 4-page fact sheet, however for further detail, please click on the hyperlink, which will take you to the full PDF document.

Introduction

Farmers today face rising energy costs and uncertainty about future energy policies that affect agriculture.  Many farmers are responding by improving the energy efficiency of their operations and exploring alternatives to traditional fossil fuels such as wind, solar, and biofuel crops. Improving nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency is another important strategy. Fertilizer cost is important because it is tightly linked to energy prices, and excessive applications increase the release of nitrous oxide (N2O), a very potent greenhouse gas (GHG). More efficient fertilizer management is just one of many win-win strategies for farmers that make economic sense and also address concerns about GHG emissions and climate change.

Summary of Best Management Practices

  • Improve energy efficiency and minimize use of synthetic fertilizers and other energy-intensive inputs to lower costs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Explore renewable energy options, such as biofuel crops, biogas capture from manure waste, wind turbines, and solar systems.
  • Enhance ruminant animal digestion efficiency to reduce methane emissions.
  • Improve manure handling and storage to reduce methane and carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Improve nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, and use organic sources of nitrogen such as legume rotation crops and manure when possible.
  • Build up soil organic matter to improve soil health, crop productivity and soil carbon sequestration by reducing tillage, planting winter cover crops, and applying organic matter amendments such as compost.

For more information, contact Dr. David Wolfe, Dept of Horticulture, www.climatechange.cornell.edu