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World Ag Congress : World Ag Congress
18 World Agricultural Forum 2009 Congress Q: The challenges we face are energy security, climate change and resource depletion all at the same time. How can agriculture be part of the solution? A: (Buckwell): Agriculture has to learn how to reduce its emissions and that is not a simple matter. We do not have good measure- ments. The standard errors on the emission factors that are used for agriculture are the largest, so there are big problems in measuring and containing greenhouse gases from agriculture. The control methods for the rest of the economy, outside of agriculture are pretty simple. It is called energy efficiency. In agriculture, it is anything but simple. It also involves the actions of millions of farmers. Farmers and land management can be part of the solution, sequestering carbon in soil and trees, but there are significant problems of permanence, additionality, and veri- fication still to be overcome. A (Hatfield): We have not talked much about soil as the resource base in a lot of these different pieces. Water is also a key point, as we start looking at organic matter changes within the soil. We have got to have the capability of being able to put the maximum amount of water back through the plant in order to maximize productivity. It is basically getting every crop for the drop, maximizing transpiration and minimizing evaporation back into the atmosphere in an agricultural system. The other piece is that we do not deal in main effects. We really have got a carbon cycle, a water cycle, a nitrogen cycle --- all happening simultaneously in the soil. I really believe that we lose sight of the complexity of that interaction. We want to make it a nice simple process and say, "Let us talk about carbon, let us talk about water, let us talk about nitrogen," where, in real- ity, all three of those have got to be approached simultaneously. Q: How does livestock affect climate change? A (Tugwell): Globally, the main impact of livestock production is believed to be in land use changes in deforestation and subsequent establishment of pastures. The second most important point for livestock's contribution to climate change is enteric fermentation, that methane has to come out, it comes out of the front end and produces a significant amount of methane. The third most important issue is manure management. Last but not least, an important contributor is the application of manure to soils and therefore nitrogen compounds that make it all the way into nitrous oxide. One of the biggest global livestock mitigation factors to reconsider is land use changes for livestock production. Whenever we clear-cut forests for whatever purpose --- whether it is livestock production or soil production or other production --- we take a big sequestering source away. On enteric fermentation, I think the greatest gain that we can make is by increasing efficiencies in livestock production. Just to give an example, the difference between 1944 and 2007 cows is that 2007 cows here in the U.S. are much more efficient. To pro- duce 1 billion kilograms of milk in 2007 we needed 20% less cows, 25% feed, 10% less land. In 2007, we produced 40% less methane and 56% less nitrous oxide compared to 1944. Efficiencies are really key to reduce enteric fermentation. Currently it is not being regulated. It is not proposed to be regulated, but Panelists include (l to r) Frank Tugwell, President/CEO, Winrock International; Michael Walsh, Executive VP, Chicago Climate Exchange; Carole Brookins, Former U.S. Executive Director, The World Bank; Jerry Hatfield, National Soil Tilth Research Laboratory, USDA; Professor Allan Buckwell, CLA, and Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D., Air Quality Extension Specialist, University of California-Davis. CLIMATE CHANGE: IMPACTS ON FOOD SECURITY Professor Allan Buckwell, CLA, UK; Jerry Hatfield, National Soil Tilth Research Laboratory, USDA; Frank Tugwell, President and CEO, Winrock International; and Michael Walsh, Executive VP, Chicago Climate Exchange Q & A SESSION WITH CAROL BROOKINS, FORMER U.S. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE WORLD BANK, MODERATOR