A recent study in the journal Global Change Biology suggested that unless we step up efforts to tackle agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, the ambitious Paris climate agreement will fail—regardless of other efforts to boost renewables or phase out fossil fuels.
And yet farming emissions are often talked about as an afterthought when it comes to the conversation around global climate change. That said, there are reasons to be hopeful. Not least the fact that some large food conglomerates are now turning their attention to soil health.
Farming Monthly reports that cereal giant Kellogg's, for example, has now hired a "compost chef." Soil health expert Anna Becvar is working with suppliers to advise on both composting and the use of anaerobic digestion to improve soil health, reduce methane emissions and increase crop production. Here's how Becvar described her work in a press release:“We’ve been focusing on the potential of improving soils with organic manures, such as quality compost and Biofertiliser made from recycled green waste and food waste. In the short term both compost and Biofertiliser can provide nutrients and reduce reliance on fertilisers. In the longer term we can build soil organic matter levels for better, more resilient soils and improved soil health.”
It's already been encouraging to see a growing number of mainstream farmers embracing techniques like cover cropping. Interest and support from the customers they supply can only help to boost this trend moving forward. In the same way that a growing number of corporate giants have already committed to 100% renewables, moving ahead of national governments, a similar corporate push for soil health and sustainable agriculture could help significantly move the conversation forward when it comes to farming emissions too.