For Immediate Release
October 3, 2019
Recommendations to improve nutrient use and manure management towards sustainable and resilient agricultural systems around the world have been submitted to global climate negotiators by the North America Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (NACSAA).
The recommendations will be considered along with other submissions offered by participants in support of the of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) during December’s UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP 25) in Santiago, Chile.
The KJWA officially acknowledges the significant role the global agriculture sector can play in adapting to and mitigating climate change.
Lara Moody, Vice President for Stewardship and Sustainability at The Fertilizer Institute, spearheaded the NACSAA panel formulating the improved nutrient use recommendations. The panel charged with formulating NACSAA’s manure management recommendations was chaired by Leonard Bull, a past professor and chair of Animal Science at the University of Vermont, and emeritus head of Animal Science at N.C. State University.
The recommendations developed by the two panels and integrated into this latest submission are built around guiding principles developed by the alliance for the KJWA, which include:
- Sustainably managed working lands are critically important pathways for combating climate change and achieving SDGs;
- Science based decision making should be the foundation for climate smart policies;
- There is no “silver bullet” solution for achieving CSA outcomes; and
- Farmers must be at the center of all discussions and decisions.
Among the recommendations on nutrient management, the submission cites scientifically affirmed crop management strategies to reduce emissions that should include selection of crop varieties/species that are adapted to changes in growing degree days; as well as changes in requirements for fertilizer rates, timing and placement to match plant requirements (known as 4R Nutrient Stewardship). Adaptation strategies also include changes in crop rotation, cover crops and irrigation management.
The recommendations also cite the value of cover crops, which can serve to sequester manure nutrients for use by subsequent plantings. They cite research that has suggested that in systems which use manure compost as a nutrient input and where soil carbon is simultaneously sequestered via cover crops, greenhouse gas mitigation effects are possible.
In addressing the management of animal manure to help mitigate the effects of climate change, the recommendations include pasture and open lot operations. Combining confinement production facilities and the use of manure to recover renewable energy – most often by recovering methane, a potent greenhouse gas, through anaerobic digestion that can generate electricity – is well established and is recommended by NACSAA as a means of avoiding emissions.
The recommendations also highlight the underlying point that animal agriculture (including all food animal and poultry species, as well as aquaculture) will, and must, make an integral and major contribution to society, not only by mitigating climate change, but also through contributions to meeting food security, water quality and other sustainable development goals.
For next steps, NACSAA members will be reaching out to other KJWA participants to exchange submissions and work to forge consensus on recommendation ahead of COP 25.
For additional information, contact Ernie Shea, NACSAA coordinator, at (410) 952-0123, or [email protected]; Lara Moody at (202) 515-2721, or [email protected]; or Len Bull at (919) 491-3317, or [email protected].