Enhance Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in Agriculture through Farm Bill Implementation: Implementation Recommendations for the Natural Resources Conservation Service
Our current agronomic systems are responsible for over 8 percent of domestic greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), and the impacts of climate change are growing significantly over time. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has opportunities through the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill to better target agricultural conservation practices that mitigate agricultural emissions. This paper utilizes interviews with soil health and agricultural climate change experts to provide background on the agriculture sector’s GHGs and potential federal policy paths toward lowering emissions. Leading industry reports are also analyzed to determine the current state of science and federal policy for agricultural climate change mitigation, as well as projections for increased adoption of different conservation practices. This paper will highlight gaps in research and monitoring and recommend pathways to increase adoption rates for soil health projects through a pilot program. This paper also requests new conservation program criteria to better target and increase effective agricultural climate practices. By pursuing these two opportunities, NRCS has the opportunity to curb climate change by decreasing GHG emissions while building more resilient farmland.