Kansas

The topic of carbon sequestration has been a part of the verbiage in environmental discussions for some time, and recently has been drawing more attention in segments of the agriculture industry, as well as the Congress and environmental organizations.

Carbon is among the chemical elements that could contribute to the so-called global-warming phenomena, and the sequestration of carbon in the soil is a procedure that can be easily accomplished by the nation's farmers.

The Kansas Association of wheat Growers has formally announced its support of the general concept of carbon sequestration that is beginning to appear in some legislation. In making the announcement, Brett Myers, KAWG executive vice president, said, "This is definitely a concept that the KAWG is going to support. We really see no downside to it right now."

Spokespersons for Sen. Sam Brownback, R-KS, said they anticipate a news conference in the next few days announcing the details of specific legislation the senator plans to introduce. Meanwhile, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS, also is pushing a legislative package on carbon sequestration which includes an emphasis on research.

A carbon sequestration program would include farmers purposely placing carbon into the natural storage provided by the soil on their farm, with related compensation for those farmers who utilize those land practices and crops which maximize carbon storage in the soil. Brownback's researchers announced that studies indicate there is the potential to more than offset U.S. carbon emissions for up to the next 50 years through proper land management strategies. One obvious key question has been how to conduct accurate measurement of carbon placement and research in that area is beginning to show the answers.

Jerry McReynolds, Woodston, KAWG secretary, said "This is a concept with much merit, a way to enhance best management practices for all of agriculture."

With the possible adoption of a specific carbon sequestration plan, it would become a win-win strategy for agriculture and the environment, which also would utilize a number of agricultural practices in use in Kansas and other states. In addition, substantial research in areas of interest to Kansas State University and the United States Department of Agriculture are seeing some progress.

The Kansas Association of wheat Growers represents nearly 3,000 members, who have joined forces under the common goal of maximizing members profitability.

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