What sort of impact would you see on your business and equipment sales if your customers adjusted their farming practices to try and take advantage of the carbon markets or if a government mandate was put in place that required farmers to lower their carbon emissions?

“We would see an increase in demand for our hyper-precision robotic spraying platform. As the need for more efficient and sustainable farming practices rises, the demand for our robotic solutions will increase as well, allowing farmers to increase their yields without expending extra resources and energy. Our robotic solutions are designed to help farmers become more efficient and reduce their carbon emissions while still increasing their yields. In addition, our robots can help farmers effectively manage their input usage and help to reduce their carbon emissions. We believe that these changes in farming practices would be a positive development for our business and our equipment sales.”

– Curtis Garner,
Verdant Robotics, Hayward, Calif. 

“In short: I do believe this could negatively impact dealers across the country. Without appropriate technology to follow these rules/regulations our administration is mulling, there is no way farmers or dealers will be able to keep up. In my opinion, there is not enough reasonably sized equipment fitted with the appropriate technology to handle it. We are not a precision dealer, but we do support a large hay market in our area. If the folks in DC want to reduce farmers’ carbon footprint, there will have to be a significant leap in technology to do so. A battery powered tractor running a baler for 12 hours a day, requiring 120 horsepower and enough PTO speed just doesn’t exist, and likely won’t for a long time. I don’t believe there is much else the farmer can do to reduce carbon emissions without suitable technology. The dealer will be completely at a loss to provide the customer with help. If it comes to it, they will have every dealer and its associates, including

farmers, out of business by the end of the decade, and we really can’t be sure that’s not what they’re shooting for. The farmer has adapted to everything that’s been thrown at them by the government and all of their policies, but until we’re given real, useful resources to keep up, it just won’t happen.”

– Alyssa Barrett, Service Manager,
Holbrook Equipment, Campton, Ky.

“For corn farmers, 99.7% of the carbon in the above ground biomass of a corn field (5 dry tons per acre) is converted to CO2 which goes into the atmosphere. One can increase the percentage by deep tillage (i.e., plowing), but plowing increases the biological oxidation of existing SOM resulting in increased carbon losses.

“The only good way around that is to run it through a hydrothermal liquefaction process, which converts that carbon to biochar (with a 1,000 year biological half-life) and biocrude (which can be converted to diesel by most any petroleum refinery). So store the biochar and recycle the biocrude. All of the SOM components except for biochar have half-lives of hours to a few months making them worthless for carbon sequestration. Corn stalks are the single largest, annually renewable biomass resource in the U.S.

“Good scientists already know the above — but there are always people/groups with hidden agendas, typically making money on bad science.”

– Lon Crosby, Ph.D., Webster City, Iowa

“Our focus is enabling precision management of inputs using a high resolution soil map that includes soil, water and topography (SWAT MAP). SWAT MAPS, along with good, applied agronomy, help farmers:

  1. Understand and measure current soil organic matter levels.
  2. Identify areas that can be improved.
  3. Map areas with excess soil nitrogen availability that are susceptible to losses (and potential N2O emissions).
  4. Better manage plant populations that might be hindering yield and therefore carbon sequestration.
  5. Better manage all nutrients and soil pH to optimize yield and nutrient use efficiency, which minimizes losses to the environment and maximizes yield.

“At Croptimistic, we see an opportunity beyond just carbon — we can use precision agriculture technology to apply all inputs more efficiently to improve yield and minimize environmental impact. This includes nutrients from synthetic fertilizers and manure, irrigation water, pesticides, lime and even seed. Ultimately, more efficient use of inputs equates to less impact on the environment and less emissions. For many farms, it may not be possible to directly improve soil organic carbon levels, so we have to look at other avenues to reduce emissions.

“If government policy mandates lower emissions, there are not a lot of ways to do this without increasing costs or negatively impacting yield. The only economic path forward for many farms will be a precision management approach, which will result in more demand for the products and services our company offers. We sell autonomous sensors that mount to equipment so farms can map soils, crop canopy and weed canopy as they perform other field operations. The data they collect can then be used to make better management decisions that benefit farm economics and the environment.”

– Wes Anderson, Naicam, Sask.

“We manufacture ultra low volume electrostatic sprayers. Our technology significantly increases coverage. This type of technology reduces chemical usage and the diesel fuel necessary to spray it onto the field. Being able to turn carbon savings into dollars is just another cost savings for the grower. I would anticipate an increase in business and more ESS sprayers in the field if they can get the program off the ground.”

– Peter Gans, Director,
Sales & Marketing, Electrostatic
Spraying Systems, Watkinsville, Ga.