Ways that organic farming can contribute to long-term climate goals

Photo Credit:  Emmelie Photo Credit: Emmelie

The Centre for Organic Food and Farming conducted a study to investigate methods that can be adopted by organic growers to decrease the emissions of greenhouse gasses. Their findings highlighted four areas of need: improved nitrogen efficiency, higher yields, increased soil carbon stocks, and resource efficiency. Nitrogen efficiency is critical to decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, because nitrous oxide emissions from soil are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. However, using nitrogen efficiently can decrease nitrous oxide emissions, because these emissions are linked to surplus nitrogen availability. Increased yields can also decrease the climate change impacts of agriculture. These must be closely monitored in organic agriculture to ensure that methods for increasing yields do not conflict with nitrogen use efficiency, animal welfare, or biodiversity. Increasing carbon stocks in the soil is also a key factor in mitigating climate change, because it decreases atmospheric carbon content. Finally, resource efficiency should be managed to decrease fossil fuel burning.