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Down to Earth carbon science: Briefing April 15 in DC

WASHINGTON DC, APRIL 9, 2009 -- Four experts in soil carbon research, farming, and forestry will address the unique opportunity farmers and foresters have to manage soil carbon to reduce greenhouse gas (GHGs) and participate in voluntary markets. Agricultural and forest soils in the U.S. have the capacity to sequester 650 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year, offsetting up to 11% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The briefing, "Down to Earth Carbon Science: Mitigating Climate Change with America's Farms and Forests", will be held in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 10:30 am in 1334 Longworth House Office Building and again at 3:00 pm in 328-A Senate Russell Office Building.

Featured in the briefing will be:

  • Chuck Rice of the 2nd Congressional district of Kansas and Soil Microbiology Professor at Kansas State University, who will explain the mechanism behind soil carbon sequestration.
  • Steve Ruddell of Washington, DC representing the Society of American Foresters and Senior Associate with First Environment, providing environmental markets consulting and verification services, will give the practitioner's perspective on forest carbon offsets in a carbon trading system.
  • Howard Brown, Manager of Agronomy Services, GROWMARK, Inc., in Bloomington, Illinois, will offer a basic overview of the American Society of Agronomy-Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) Program, and the role of CCAs in conducting outreach to farmers on methods and tools available for sequestering greenhouse gases on agricultural lands.
  • Robert Carlson, President of the North Dakota Farmers Union, will provide the perspective of a producer participating in GHG sequestration activities in voluntary markets.

"The importance of carbon sequestration through proper management of agricultural and forested lands has generally been underappreciated in the carbon credit trading discussion.The science suggests that this is a feasible option and it is time for policy to be shaped by the science," said Dr. Paul Bertsch, Chair of the National Academies U.S. National Committee for Soil Science and Presdient of the Soil Science Society of America.

"Carbon sequestration will be a key part of Congress's efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, and farmers in North Dakota can play a central role in that effort. I'm proud that North Dakota Farmers Union President Robert Carlson is leading the charge," said Congressman Pomeroy. "Sequestering carbon dioxide in the soil can provide environmental, as well as economic, benefits for farmers and the nation as a whole."

Rep. Tim Johnson (R-15th Illinois) stated, "Agriculture is a vital cog of the economy not only in my home of East Central Illinois, but across the heartland. Sequestering carbon on the farm presents a great opportunity for producers to achieve both environmental and economic benefits. I support the research that the University of Illinois and other institutions of higher learning are conducting to examine how American Agriculture can play a role in reducing carbon emissions."


Contact: Sara Uttech
Soil Science Society of America

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