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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

$60M USDA grant supports NYS climate-friendly farms and forests

of Faculty of Agriculture and Life Science partners with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Department of Agricultural Markets, and many others to help farmers and private forest owners implement climate-smart practices. emissions.

On September 20, state officials “NYS Connects: Climate Smart Farms and Forests Project”was awarded a $60 million grant under the Partnership for the First-ever Climate Smart Commodities Program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).the project was one of 70 people selected from all over Japan Out of 450 proposals submitted. USDA’s total investment in these grants is $2.8 billion.

“The climate crisis is here and now, and the only way to deal with it is to develop Comprehensive solution It also creates a huge number of common benefits, especially for landowners and farmers, who are key allies in this fight.” Benjamin Z. Horton, Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS. “This project will enable us to build collaborative, practical, scalable and equitable solutions that pay farmers for the many ecosystem services they provide.”

Statewide partners include CALS, Cornell Small Farm Program, Cornell Cooperative Expansionof Harvest NY Urban Agriculture programs, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Syracuse University. The specific amount to be sent to each of its statewide partners will be finalized in the coming months, DEC said.

“These funds will support the efforts of leading partners such as the University of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the State Department of Environmental Conservation to make important progress in meeting New York State’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I will,” said Senator Charles. Schumer (D-New York).

“In New York State, private forests are removing climate-altering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a rate comparable to emissions from 2 million gas-powered cars, and we need more resources to sustain our forests and combat climate change. It underscores the importance of working with landowners on a sustainable basis,” said Basil Seggos, DEC Commissioner and Co-Chair of the Climate Action Council.

“This USDA award is hugely exciting news for New York and builds on the tremendous efforts to combat ongoing climate change at the state level,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. said. “Together, we will develop innovative and best agro-environmental practices that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and make farms more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate. I am leading.”

“Many farmers are already committing to climate protection practices because of their commitment to the environment, the health and well-being of their farms and families, and the knowledge that we all must take care of our fragile natural resources. We know that Anu Rangarajan, director of Cornell Small Farms. “This grant gives us the opportunity to reshape how we talk about climate change mitigation by working on market-based strategies that motivate farmers to adopt more of these practices. .”

A portion of the USDA grant will facilitate innovative work to drive methane reduction in dairy operations. The pilot program will help dairy farmers CNCPS systemand the work is validated through the PRO-DAIRY methane measurement approach.

The project also includes significant research to measure and quantify the greenhouse gas impacts and benefits of various agricultural and forestry practices, laying the groundwork for potential carbon markets. Although it is an open market, it has a long-term impact on the public. Carbon market proposals call for payments to farmers and forest owners to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or adopt evidence-based practices that sequester existing emissions.

Xiangtao XuAn assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, he uses light detection and ranging techniques, also known as lidar, to estimate how much carbon forests store and sequester. The technology takes billions of laser shots to reconstruct realistic tree structures by providing an accurate, rapid and uninterrupted method for measuring tree perimeters and estimating biomass. To do. Changes in biomass over time indicate how much greenhouse gases are being taken up by trees and converted into plant material.

For new grants, Xu collaborates peter smallridgedirector of Arnot Forest, said that thrashwalls (natural barriers constructed from branches and other unmarketable leftovers intended to prevent deer from eating tree saplings) and other forestry practices To test whether it helps forest regrowth after timber harvesting.

“New York wants to reach net zero by 2050, and much of the state’s carbon management plan is based on natural carbon assimilation. “I think we are past the stage of debating whether we should address climate change. I’m in the process of figuring out how to do it in a highly efficient way.

Krisy Gashler is a writer at the University of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

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