USDA teaming with farmers to fight global warming
Veneman said the USDA will provide an unspecified amount of financial incentives for farmers, as well as technical assistance and training in management practices to increase the removal of harmful carbon dioxide and other gases from the atmosphere, a process called "carbon sequestration."
"These actions will help ... to protect the environment and conserve our resources for future generations," Veneman said, in a speech delivered at the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame, based in Bonner Springs, Kansas, a rural area about half an hour outside Kansas City. "This is good for the environment and good for agriculture."
Veneman said forest, crop and grazing land conservation actions will be key to greenhouse gas reductions. She said manure management, improved fertilizer use and fuel efficiencies can also help reduce the harmful gases.
The USDA is revising its programs to put a priority on greenhouse gas reduction efforts and is working with private partners to test new sequestration practices, Veneman said.
Carbon sequestration is a natural process in which plant life removes gases from the atmosphere and transforms them within the soil to substances beneficial to vegetation and crops.
The USDA estimates that by focusing attention on the problem and making a federal investment of almost $3.9 billion in agriculture and forest conservation in fiscal 2004, a reduction of roughly 12 million tons of greenhouse gases can be achieved annually by 2012, or 12 percent of the Bush administration's overall goal.