Why carbon neutral farming might just be the sustainable solution that we are aiming for?

By Prof. Tzong-Ru Lee and Ms. Magdalee Brunache

The fact about climate change is that it affects agriculture while being influenced by it at the same time. Over the years, we have all grown accustomed to the reality that our food production systems and diet preferences were contributing to killing the planet, particularly when it comes to cow farming. But what can we do about it?

Numerous solutions have been proposed to respond to this challenge, both on the supply and demand sides. They range from implementing emissions trading scheme, changing human diets, reducing food waste, to modifying land use. However, one of the most enduring and radical approach is to move towards carbon neutral farming.

Carbon neutral farming refers to adaptations of climate-smart agriculture that can result in the sequestration of more carbon in the soil and trees than what is emitted to the atmosphere. Adding in tree planting and soil carbon means that agriculture could reach a carbon neutral position. It may seem to be a utopian goal but it is actually feasible through investments.

There are many strategies that can favor the development of carbon neutral farming. The ecological benefits of trees have been widely discussed lately and have sparked interest in ways to incorporate trees into farmlands. Agro-forestry, agro-ecology, and evergreen agriculture are some of the farm production systems that give this possibility. On top of that, regenerative agriculture, cover crops, and conservation tillage allow more carbon being sequestrated into soils.

Using manure powered vehicle is one strategy that converges the need to reduce emissions from animal waste while tackling the issue of fuel efficiency. But these two issues are also related through the fact that they represent two areas where the power of technological innovations can be most successfully unleashed. Gene mapping, editing and breeding to reduce emissions from cows, automation and robotics to improve their diets are all innovative solutions considered. Meanwhile, universities around the world are researching into ways to improve the production and efficiency of biogas.

In truth, in the fight against climate change, the only limit is our imagination. Investments, technological innovations and knowledge sharing through platforms like the 2021 International Agriculture Innovation Conference (IAIC 2021) can allow reaching goals as ambitious as carbon neutral farming. Come and join us to push the boundaries of knowledge and agriculture!

> Source: Written by TZONG-RU, LEE, the Vice Chairman of IAAS and Ms. Magdalee Brunache.