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Climate Trust works to limit fertilizer-based nitrous oxide effects

Published: February 22, 2024 by Editorial Team

A Portland-based nonprofit is working with a Chicago group to help limit effects from nitrogen fertilizers.

The Climate Trust is teaming with the Delta Institute in hopes of rewarding farmers who change the ways they apply fertilizers to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, which yield potent greenhouse gases.

The idea is to do so while maintaining crop yields, the groups said this week. The Delta Institute will quantify the emission reductions and verify them with a third party. Once the credits are listed on the American Carbon Registry, the Climate Trust will purchase and then retire the credits.

Profits from the sales will then be returned to the farmer, making the strategy the first type of credit transaction to reduce agricultural N2O emissions.

“The Climate Trust has confidence in the agricultural sector, and this as the first nutrient management offset transaction is a strong signal to the carbon markets,” said Sean Penrith, the group’s executive director.

The groups say their partnership indicates a “successful result” of the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant program.

“Projects like this show that environmental improvement, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and increased yields are not mutually exclusive,” said Robert Bonnie, the U.S.D.A.’s Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment, in a release. “By implementing nitrogen conservation practices, agricultural producers can limit the amount of nitrogen released into the air and downstream waters, and also find new ways to generate income.”

The Delta Nitrogen Credit Program will work with corn farmers in the north central United States, between, roughly, Ohio and the Dakotas.