Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Partnership Releases Carbon Farming Guide Resource
ISAP’s mission is to create a network to support a systems approach to improve Illinois soil health and reduce nutrient loss.
DEKALB, Ill. – The Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Partnership is excited to announce a new factsheet outlining carbon farming opportunities in Illinois. This guide serves to introduce farmers to financial opportunities available for implementing practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, summarizing minimum requirements and payments from traditional financial assistance programs side-by-side with market-based approaches.
Consumer demand and corporate responsibility have motivated many national and international corporations to set voluntary greenhouse gas emission targets and develop science-based strategies to achieve desirable environmental outcomes. In any supply chain there are several sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but many corporations are finding that the most effective opportunities to offset GHG emissions is through practices that increase on-farm carbon storage, like cover crops and no-till, and reducing agricultural inputs with large energy production requirements, like commercially produced nitrogen fertilizer.
“As a soil scientist, when I hear climate change, I am immediately reminded of the untapped resources that lie beneath our feet,” notes Dr. Emily Bruner, Midwest Science Director of American Farmland Trust and Chair of the ISAP Science Advisory Committee. “Illinois has over 23 million acres of cropland suitable for adoption of practices capable of increasing soil carbon and storage such as cover crops and reduced tillage. Implementation of these practices could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 21 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, equal to removing over 4.5 million passenger vehicles from Illinois roadways for one year. At current rates, this equates to over $300 million in potential carbon market payments available to Illinois farmers.”
Dr. Jill Kostel, Senior Environmental Engineer with the Wetlands Initiative and ISAP Chair adds, “We are committed to assisting farmers across the state improve their return on investment when implementing conservation practices and hope this factsheet helps them navigate the growing number of financial assistance opportunities available to help them transition.”
Though enrollment in federal programs and carbon markets are not mutually exclusive, farmers are urged to consult with professional advisors to fully evaluate eligibility and program-related requirements.
As a coordinated and consistent group, Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership focuses on messaging, outreach, training and education for farmers and their trusted advisors to bring together and disseminate new information and lessons learned in plain, practical language. Members work collaboratively to amplify the programs of each organization, share resources to gain efficiencies and identify synergies in achieving soil health and nutrient goals. ISAP’s mission is to create a network to support a systems approach on agriculture lands to improve soil health and reduce nutrient loss. ISAP’s members include: The Nature Conservancy, American Farmland Trust, Precision Conservation Management, Illinois Corn, Illinois Central College, The Wetlands Initiative, The Zea Mays Foundation, Soil Health Partnership, Illinois Land Improvement Contractors Association, Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Illinois Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, and University of Illinois Extension