Climate Smart Agriculture

There are a number of changes farmers have made to reduce their overall carbon emissions. Together, these individual changes–like no or low-till farming, the use of cover crops, or the precision use of lower carbon fertilizer–combine to constitute climate smart agriculture, a paradigm shift that aims to increase productivity and system resilience while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Policies must be designed and administered in a way that rewards farmers for their emissions reductions and increases the adoption of these techniques throughout the agricultural supply chain.

Climate smart agriculture refers to any of a number of different practices that farmers can implement in order to reduce their overall carbon emissions.

The Asks

  • Farmers who adopt climate smart agriculture should get credit in carbon reduction tax incentives.
  • Regulators must use the GREET model to administer tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
  • Lawmakers should support policies that reward farmers and biorefiners by accounting for every molecule of carbon they prevent from entering the atmosphere through climate-smart practices.

What Is Climate Smart Agriculture?

Climate Smart Agriculture represents innovations in farming that lower the overall emissions impact of farmers’ operations or crops they produce.

What Types of Farming Techniques Qualify as Climate Smart Ag?

  • Precision Fertilizer: Fertilizer intensity has dropped significantly in the last 20 years. Using less fertilizer through precision agriculture technologies lowers nitrogen use and improves ethanol’s carbon intensity (CI) score.
  • Increasing Soil Organic Carbon: The CI of ethanol can be further improved through the use of updated, accurate modeling, which accurately reflects carbon sequestered with the planting of corn. Further improvements can be made by feedstock producers adopting techniques like no-till farming and planting cover crops which help keep nutrients in farm soil.
    • No or Low-Till Farming
    • Use of Cover Crops
    • Low CI Fertilizer

What Impact Would Growth Energy’s Policy Priorities Have on Consumers, the Economy, or the Environment?

Promoting climate-smart agriculture will enhance the environmental benefits of biofuels and lower the carbon intensity of biofuel production—paving the way toward the production of biofuels like ethanol that have a net-negative emissions profile (meaning they offset more CO2 than their production creates).