The director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Drake University, David Courard-Hauri, says faculty and researchers from 39 Iowa colleges and universities support the statement. He says it back the voluntary Climate Smart Agriculture program of the U.S.D.A. to enable farmers, ranchers and foresters to confront “human caused” global warming.
“The key point in this year’s statement is that climate smart agriculture doesn’t just reduce emissions — though it does do that — it also helps farmers by reducing erosion, helps users of Iowa’s and helps potential flood victims by reducing rapid runoff,” Courard-Hauri says. Jerry Schnoor is co-director of the U-I center and says
“We applaud Iowa’s farmers and ag producers and land managers who are already responding enthusiastically to sustainable agriculture practices in the state like cover crops and grass waterways and low-till agriculture,” Schnoor says. But he says more needs to be done.
He says figures from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources show agriculture accounts for about 27 percent of Iowa’s greenhouse gas emissions. “With this climate smart agriculture program there’s new opportunities and cash incentives for us to participate and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Schnoor says. Schnoor was asked if the recent heavy rains and flooding in Iowa were due to climate change.
“Of course any one event we can’t attribute to increased greenhouse gas or climate change,” Schnoor says. “But what we can say is that the frequency of extreme precipitation events is increasing and we see it very clearly in the meteorological record going back more than 100 years.” He says there has been a significant increase in the number of rain events where we get four or more inches of rain — including the September storms in Iowa.
“And it was very unusual for the storm to have such an impact in September. In fact, almost unprecedented for us to have flooding in September,” according to Schnoor. “So those things give us pause. It adds to the record of increased precipitation, storm events.”
The Climate Smart Agriculture program has a goal of reducing nationwide net emissions and enhance carbon storage in the soil by over 120 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent annually by 2025.