South Dakota corn growers may have more of an incentive to become climate smart.
The US Ethanol Coalition received a $ 7.5 million investment from the US Department of Agriculture on Friday. A local Sioux Falls-based organization that promotes the use of ethanol, ACE and other ethanol partners will use the funds to compensate farmers based on their adoption of climate-smart practices.
Fifteen organizations received a total of $ 75 million from the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program to address concerns about natural resources on private lands.
“We share the Biden administration’s goal of reaching net zero [greenhouse gas] emissions by 2050, ”said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE, in a press release. “Ethanol can achieve negative net carbon intensity by crediting biofuel crops grown with climate-smart agricultural practices in clean fuel markets. “
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ACE officials hope conservation efforts will give South Dakota farmers access to established markets of low-carbon fuel standards, such as exist in California and Oregon. These LCFS markets pay farmers an additional 39 cents per bushel for their climate-smart practices, South Dakota Corn Growers Chairman Scott Stahl said in the press release.
Adopting climate-smart practices could result in additional revenues of $ 10 million per year for corn growers, the statement said.
According to USDA calculations, the shift from conventional farming practices to more environmentally friendly options could sequester an additional 91,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions in South Dakota., which is equivalent to taking 20,000 cars off the road.
South Dakota State University will also work with the Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratory as part of the program to develop a system to quantify greenhouse gas contributions and establish a verification system.
“The SDSU has long been a leader in studying the environmental and economic benefits of changes in production practices,” said David Clay, professor of soil science at SDSU. agricultural practices in all biofuel producing regions of the United States.
Other partners in the regional conservation partnership program include the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, Dakota Ethanol, and Cultivating Conservation.
Rebekah Tuchscherer is the agricultural and environmental journalist for Argus Leader. Contact her at (605)331-2315 or [email protected]