WHY WE NEED TO ACT
Agriculture provides food, fiber, fuels, and jobs. And yet, growing food directly results in large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, including from fertilizers, which result in emissions of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, and livestock, which produce methane from their digestive process and from manure. Rice paddies also produce large volumes of methane. Direct agricultural emissions are projected to increase by nearly 30 percent between 2005 and 2030. Agriculture also results in indirect emissions associated with clearing grasslands and forests for agricultural land. The United States is the world’s fifth-largest source of land use emissions, which are split between livestock (60 percent) and croplands (40 percent).
With growing populations and a worldwide increase in meat consumption, controlling agricultural emissions will be a huge challenge – but one we must meet in order to grow more food while reducing the emissions associated with agriculture. By increasing efficiency, “climate-smart” agricultural practices reduce the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from farming, without reducing the productivity of agriculture.