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World Ag Congress : World Ag Congress
World Agricultural Forum 2009 Congress 19 we should consider efficiencies as an important point. On the manure side we can reduce greenhouse gases pretty efficiently. We have several systems, they are referred to as digesters, where we take animal manure, put it in a containment facility, basically allow methanogens to ferment the organic material and produce methane. This methane is then burned and generates electricity, or this can be used to generate de-natural gas or hydrogen or ethanol. Q: Are you optimistic? A (Walsh): There are signs of hope and progress. Right now there are 20 million acres of cropland in the U.S. and Canada managed by 10,000-plus farmers who are enrolled in rules-based, independently verified, carbon-crediting systems. We started with zero. What we do at the Chicago Climate Exchange is to take concepts based on best academic information and scientific knowledge and start the process of trying to build out a market-based approach as one of the portfolio tools needed to address global climate change. When there is a regulatory system in place, we help to implement those systems. When there is not such a policy in place, we try to help build the infrastructure, skills and knowledge base needed to advance that. The response has been tremendous. Energy security, local air quality, water quality, climate change, resilience can be enhanced by the agricultural best management processes that are credited in a very conservative, structured way under the rules of our exchange. A (Tugwell): I am an optimist about individuals and about technology, about farms and what farmers can do when they have the right incentives. I am a pessimist where it involves large, even global governmental agreements that are then turned into mandates and imposed on individuals. We would love to have market solutions to these carbon opportunities. It may well be in agriculture those are too difficult, too complicated and we are going to have to end up with regulatory solutions. We all hate those, but the reality is the best practices of various kinds can be mandated by regulation. It is much better to provide incentives so people will act, but if we cannot get trading systems and market solutions, this is going to be a world of regulation. Q: Are we doing anything on the technological side? A (Hatfield): I think we struggle with that gap between science and application. There are lots of different ways in which we do a technology transfer, but as we get farmers to adopt change, the reality is to again think about it as there for the overall farming system. When we really begin to look at efficiency it is a matter of saying what sort of return are you getting for a unit of nitrogen invested into that system? What sort of unit return are you getting for the water invested, or feed invested? It becomes a level on which producers begin to understand that here is what they have relative to a portion of input, so that then they can begin to make changes and choices and adopt it across their particular landholdings and understand how it is coming together. That is something that they make decisions about on an everyday basis. We really have to change our way of thinking about how we deliver this information as well as package it, realizing the producer 's needs. A (Walsh): We are getting smarter. We understand value chains, agriculture, productivity, the importance of private enterprise. These kinds of things are there. We are not there with climate change yet. That is, the environmental part is considered secondary. First is growing food for people, and I think they will be integrated. A (Buckwell): We are dealing with a global problem and therefore there will be a global measurement framework for the rules of the game of defining and measuring greenhouse gases. As far as the agricultural problems are concerned, we have got a long way to go. There are deep controversies about what the management tech- niques are that have impact. So there is a big measurement and manage- ment question where there is a lot of scientific work to be done. Then, it has to be extended to millions of farmers. That is the real task: getting the scientific information and then extending it. That is mostly going to have to be done through commercial agro business because we do not have public extension services to do it in most parts of the world. WAF TAKE-AWAY INSIGHTS FROM ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION "I do not have any confidence that we are going to have legislation that is going to be effective ... and the main reason is that democratic systems are not set up to pay a price in advance for a problem that is this far out." "There are many business curricula, university study programs, that are starting to incorporate carbon management, greenhouse gas management, and pricing and risk management into their curricula and I hope that becomes a global phenomenon, but it absolutely must be an integral part of the educational systems in natural resources and in agronomy and agriculture, as well." "We have to educate our populations so that they do not get scared of the use of biotechnology. Ag literacy in our population is dismal. People no longer understand agriculture. They do not understand what is involved and what is needed to achieve the goals that we have, which is decreasing the environmental impact at large. The climate change impact, in particular, will require tools that are not very popular currently."