Ag Policy Blog

Monsanto, Climate Experts to Research Ag's Carbon Footprint

Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
Adding cover crops to farmland helps sequester carbon and reduce ag's greenhouse gas footprint. (file photo by Chris Clayton)

Various groups have joined with Monsanto Co. to form the Carbon-Neutral Collaborative, which was highlighted in a news release as a consortium of experts on greenhouse gases.

The group will work to create a way to account for greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture and also advise Monsanto on ways to reduce the company's carbon footprint. Monsanto is seeking to become "carbon neutral" by 2021, meaning the company is working to sequester or offset as much greenhouse gases as the company emits through its production and supply chain. Monsanto stated the company rolled out its push to become carbon neutral a year ago. The collaborative met earlier in the week.

“Since last year, we’ve been energized and inspired by the productive discussions and efforts around climate change from the many stakeholders involved, especially our farmer customers who are the ultimate stewards of the land,” said Brett Begemann, Monsanto’s president and chief operating officer. “While the problem of climate change is incredibly complex with many regional differences, the contributions over the past year—by some of the strongest leaders in agricultural and environmental science—are very promising.”

The National Corn Growers Association received a $1 million Conservation Innovation Grant from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to work on such issues. Monsanto stated the grant was matched with $1.6 million from Monsanto and in-kind contributions by several other partners in the project.

Like so many high-profile initiatives meant to have a meaningful impact on agriculture, the Carbon-Neutral Collaborative was announced Thursday in a news release. The news release -- detailing the companies, the grant money and some broad goals -- offered tremendous insight into the need for organizations, companies, agribusiness people and farmers to commit to the goals of the Carbon-Neutral Collaborative. The distribution and summary of the elements released Thursday could have been surpassed if only there had been a way for the people involved in the Carbon-Neutral Collaborative to collaborate in a manner that granted more public conversation. Maybe the wealth of information shared in 706 words emailed out to a select few -- and this could be conceived as a widely insane idea -- but just maybe there might have been an opportunity to include professional people who communicate with a larger audience outside of those directly involved in collaborating on climate change. Such a proposal may require deeper pontification beyond the actual problems being addressed through collaboration.

The companies and groups involved, beyond Monsanto Co., include,

AgSolver, Inc.

Applied GeoSolutions, LLC

Climate Smart Group Inc.

Coalition on Ag Greenhouse Gases

Colorado State University

CropGrower, LLC

Kansas State University

National Corn Growers Association

The Soil Health Partnership

University of Illinois at Chicago

Monsanto detailed some other various climate-smart programs the company is working on both domestically and internationally. Monsanto added, "The call to address climate change stretches beyond agriculture. At the November United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP22, Monsanto joined with other companies in signing a public statement committing to move forward with the Paris Agreement."

A blog from Monsanto's Global Sustainable Development Lead also addresses the topic a little further. http://dld.bz/…

I wish I had more to tell you.

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Claytonhttp://dld.bz/fjxXz@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

Chris Clayton