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					                                            Chapter 9
                                        Agriculture Sector
Sector Overview

Overview of GHG Emissions
Agricultural sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions include non-energy methane (CH4)
emissions from livestock (i.e., enteric (intestinal) fermentation), 1 CH4 and nitrous oxide (N2O)
emissions from the storage and treatment of livestock manure (e.g., in compost piles or anaerobic
treatment lagoons),2 N2O emissions and net fluxes of CO2 associated with the management of
agriculture soils,3 and CH4 and N2O emissions associated with agriculture residue burning.
Figure 9-1 shows Pennsylvania’s historical and projected GHG emissions from sources in the
agriculture sector for 1990 through 2020.

Relative to other sectors, Pennsylvania's agriculture sector contributes relatively low amounts of
GHG emissions to total statewide emissions. In 2000, the agriculture sector contributed about 8.4
million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMtCO2e) emissions (about 3%) to
Pennsylvania’s total statewide gross GHG emissions (consumption basis). Within the agriculture
sector, agricultural soil management accounted for the largest source of emissions, representing
46% of total agricultural emissions and 1.4% of total statewide gross GHG emissions in 2000.
The contribution of other agricultural sources to total agricultural emissions include livestock
enteric fermentation (36%), manure management (18%), and burning of agricultural crop waste

Since 2000, agricultural sector emissions have remained fairly constant through 2009, and are
expected to follow a similar trend through 2020. Overall, emissions for the agricultural sector are
expected to increase slightly by about 0.6 MMtCO2e (approximately 7.3%) from 2000 to 2020.

  Methane emissions from enteric fermentation are the result of normal digestive processes in ruminant and non-
ruminant livestock. Microbes in the animal digestive system breakdown food and emit CH4 as a by-product. More
CH4 is produced in ruminant livestock because of digestive activity in the large fore-stomach.
  Methane and N2O emissions from the storage and treatment of livestock manure (e.g., in compost piles or
anaerobic treatment lagoons) occur as a result of manure decomposition. The environmental conditions of
decomposition drive the relative magnitude of emissions. In general, the more anaerobic the conditions are, the more
CH4 is produced because decomposition is aided by CH4 producing bacteria that thrive in oxygen-limited aerobic
conditions. Under aerobic conditions, N2O emissions are dominant. Emissions estimates from manure management
are based on manure that is stored and treated on livestock operations. Emissions from manure that is applied to
agricultural soils as an amendment or deposited directly to pasture and grazing land by grazing animals are
accounted for in the agricultural soils emissions.
  The management of agricultural soils can result in N2O emissions and net fluxes of CO2 causing emissions or
sinks. In general, soil amendments that add nitrogen to soils can also result in N2O emissions. Nitrogen additions
drive underlying soil nitrification and de-nitrification cycles, which produce N2O as a by-product. Agricultural soils
emissions also account for decomposition of crop residues, synthetic and organic fertilizer application, manure
application, sewage sludge, nitrogen fixation, and histosols (high organic soils, such as wetlands or peatlands)
cultivation. Both direct and indirect emissions of N2O occur from the application of manure, fertilizer, and sewage
sludge to agricultural soils. Direct emissions occur at the site of application and indirect emissions occur when
nitrogen leaches to groundwater or in surface runoff and is transported off-site before entering the
nitrification/denitrification cycle.

In 2020, the proportional contribution of each agricultural sector to total agricultural source
emissions is expected to change slightly relative to their contribution in 2000. In 2020,
agricultural soil management is expected to remain at 2000 levels accounting for 46% of total
agricultural emissions, while livestock enteric fermentation is projected to contribute 31%,
manure management about 23%, and burning of agricultural crop waste about 0.1% of total
industrial emissions.

              Figure 9-1. Recent and Projected GHG Emissions from the Agriculture Sector,
                                        Pennsylvania, 1990–2020

  MMtCO 2e

                 1990               2000                    2005                    2010                    2020
                         Enteric Fermentation                     Manure Management
                         Agricultural Soil Management             Burning of Agricultural Crop Waste

Source: PA DEP; emissions associated with the burning of agricultural crop waste are too small to be seen in this
MMtCO2e = million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Key Challenges and Opportunities
Opportunities for GHG mitigation in the agriculture sector include measures that can reduce
emissions within this sector and measures that can reduce emissions in other sectors. Within the
agricultural sector, changes in crop cultivation can reduce GHG emissions by building soil
carbon (indirectly sequestering carbon from the atmosphere) or through more efficient nutrient
application (reducing both direct N2O emissions and embedded GHG emissions within those
nutrients). The implementation of innovative or alternative farming and harvesting techniques, as
well as utilization of biomass for bio-based products, has the potential to reduce future emissions
relative to current emissions from this sector and other sectors such as electricity and
transportation. On-farm energy expenses can also be reduced at the same time. In addition to the
potential cost savings and GHG benefit from the work plan recommendations discussed in the
following section, the implementation of these measures may serve to enhance the viability of
farming in Pennsylvania by improving the quality of the soil.

The foremost challenge facing the implementation of these measures in the agriculture sector is
breaking any economic barriers that may exist which are preventing (or not properly
incentivizing) farmers in Pennsylvania from undertaking these measures.

Overview of Work Plan Recommendations and Estimated Impacts
The Agriculture and Forestry Subcommittee membership includes John Quigley (former Chair),
Paul Roth (Chair), Ronald Ramsey, Sarah Hetznecker and David Cannon. The CCAC analyzed
and is recommending five work plans for the agricultural sector that offer the potential for cost-
effective GHG emission reductions and carbon sequestration opportunities within the state.
Table 9-1 presents the analytical results for the five work plans; impacts are presented on an
annual basis for 2020 and on a cumulative basis for the 2009 to 2020 period. The last column of
Table 9-1 summarizes the number of CCAC members that voted to approve, disapprove, or
abstained from recommending that DEP include the work plans in the Pennsylvania Climate
Action Plan.

Impacts were estimated for four of the five work plans; for Agriculture-1, the CCAC is
recommending that DEP conduct studies to collect data needed to define and implement
foodshed development strategies. Agriculture-2 provides recommendations to generate biofuel
supplies for use in the transportation and residential fuel use sectors; therefore, the emission
reductions and costs for this work plan are credited to the biofuel use work plans that the CCAC
recommends for the transportation and residential sectors to avoid double counting of impacts.

The work plans not only result in significant emission reductions and overall cost savings, but
offer the potential for several additional co-benefits as well. The Foodshed Development
Strategy encourages locally produced commodities. A co-benefit includes lowered cost of
delivering goods because products are consumed close to where produced. Increased use of
biofuel reduces air pollutants of concern and also increases jobs by creating infrastructure within
Pennsylvania to produce locally owned fuel sources. Co-benefits for Management Intensive
Grazing are reduced fuel consumption by farmers and watershed benefits through nutrient load
reduction in local water. Manure digesters are a revenue stream for farmers. Another co-benefit
is reduced fuel consumption by offsetting use of propane.

Analysis of the work plans indicate that if they are all fully implemented, they have the potential
to reduce annual emissions in 2020 by about 1.4 MMtCO2e at a cost savings of $62 million on a
net present value basis (NPV).4 The weighted-average cost-effectiveness of the work plans
combined is estimated to be a net savings of about $44 per ton of CO2e reduced ($/tCO2e) in
2020. From 2009 through 2020, the work plans (if fully implemented) are estimated to reduce
cumulative GHG emissions by about 10 MMtCO2e with a potential cost savings of $380 million
on a NPV basis. The weighted-average cost-effectiveness of the work plans combined is
estimated to be a net savings of about $37/tCO2e for the 2009 through 2020 period.

 The net costs or cost savings, shown in constant 2007 dollars, are based on fuel expenditures; operations,
maintenance, and administrative costs; and amortized, incremental equipment costs. All net present value analyses
here use a 5% real discount rate.

 The five work plan recommendations for the agriculture sector address a diverse array of
 activities capturing emission reductions both within and outside of Pennsylvania’s borders. The
 estimated impacts of the individual work plans are shown in Table 9-1. To yield the levels of
 savings described here, the recommended work plans would need to be implemented in a timely,
 aggressive, and thorough manner.

         Table 9-1. Summary Results for Agriculture Sector Work Plan Recommendations
                                         Annual Results (2020)                     Cumulative Results (2009-2020)               Voting
Work                              GHG                            Cost-           GHG         Costs           Cost-             Results
Plan                            Reductions      Costs        Effectiveness     Reductions    (NPV,       Effectiveness        (Yes / No /
 No.      Work Plan Name       (MMtCO2e)      (Million $)     ($/tCO2e)       (MMtCO2e) Million $)         ($/tCO2e)          Abstained)
     1   Foodshed
         Development                                                Not Quantified1                                           21 / 0 / 0
     2   Next-Generation        Costs and GHG savings from biofuels are considered in Transportation-2 and Residential-11
                                                                                                                              21 / 0 / 0
         Biofuels                                                     Work Plans
     3   Management-
                                      0.62          -$59              -$95             5.50       -$369                -$67   21 / 0 / 0
         Intensive Grazing
     4   Manure
         Digester  Dairy              0.26         -$0.3               -$1             1.46          $2                 $1    21 / 0 / 0
         Support   Swine              0.04          $0.1                $4             0.23          $1                 $4    21 / 0 / 0

     5   Regenerative
                                     0.059          $2.1               $36             0.30         $17                 $56   21 / 0 / 0
         Farming Practices
         Soil Sequestration
         from Continuous
                                      0.44           -$5              -$11              2.7        -$31                -$12   21 / 0 / 0
         No-Till Agronomic
Sector Total After Adjusting
                                      1.42          -$62              -$44             10.2       -$380                -$37
for Overlaps

Reductions From Recent
                                       0.0          $0.0              $0.0              0.0         $0.0               $0.0
State and Federal Actions

Sector Total Plus Recent
                                      1.42          -$62              -$44             10.2       -$380                -$37
   The CCAC recommends that this be a research and analysis work plan.
 GHG = greenhouse gas; MMtCO2e = million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent; $/tCO2e = dollars per metric
 ton of carbon dioxide equivalent; NPV = net present value.
 Negative values in the Cost and the Cost-Effectiveness columns represent net cost savings.
 The numbering used to denote the above work plans is for reference purposes only; it does not reflect prioritization
 among these important work plans.

 Description of Work Plan Recommendations
 The agriculture sector has several opportunities for mitigating GHG emissions from the
 generation of renewable energy, protecting and enhancing agricultural carbon sinks, controlling
 agricultural N2O emissions, reducing CH4 emissions from manure management, and producing
 renewable liquid fuels. The CCAC work plan recommendations are described briefly here and in
 more detail in Appendix J of this report.

Figure 9-2 shows the percentage of reductions that each work plan contributes to the total
reductions associated with the three quantified work plans combined. The management –
intensive grazing work plan contributes the largest portion, at 54%. Note that the Foodshed
Development Strategy was not quantified so there are no GHG emissions reductions associated
with this workplan. Additionally, the GHG emissions savings from Next-Generation Biofuels
were accounted for in the sector where the biofuels are used (such as transportation) so no GHG
emissions reductions are included for this work plan in the agriculture sector.

Figure 9-2. Contribution by Each Work Plan to Total Emission Reductions Associated with
                   the Work Plans Combined for the Agriculture Sector

                                     Percent of Cumulative Reductions (2009-2020)

                   No-Till Systems                                                       Management-
                   (Agriculture 5)                                                     Intensive Grazing
                                                                                         (Agriculture 3)

          Farming Practices
            (Agriculture 5)

             Manure Digester -
              (Agriculture 4)

                   Manure Digester -
                    (Agriculture 4)

The percent contribution by each work plan is calculated by dividing the cumulative reduction (2009-2020) for the
work plan by total cumulative reductions for all work plans combined (i.e., 10.2 MMtCO2e). See Table 9-1 for
numeric values used to calculate the percentages shown in this figure.

Agriculture 1. Foodshed Development Strategy
This work plan recommendation would start with an economic, demographic, and land-use
analysis of all of Pennsylvania to determine a limited number of “foodsheds,” where the
utilization of locally produced and processed foods would be maximized, and where the use of
fossil fuels in the procurement and delivery of the food would be minimized. To quantify GHG
reductions due to the use of local food, more data are needed on what food is being imported
from where into the various regions of Pennsylvania. Packaged and processed foods are
especially difficult to define, as they may use ingredients or elements from different states or

countries. The goals of this non-quantified work plan include the completion of a foodshed
analysis, formation of foodshed policy teams, development of strategic plans, fund development,
granting and implementation programs, and creation of market-based, local investment

After analysis of food origination is complete, the next implementation steps would include:
• Granting authority to specialized “food policy teams” in each foodshed to work in
   conjunction with county governments to develop and implement “foodshed strategic plans”
   within a specified time.
• Providing funds from the state and other sources in the form of grants to farmers, market
   venues, and municipalities wishing to participate. In addition, each team could maintain its
   own development function to raise funds through local foundations, businesses, and
   individuals to supplement state funds.
• Establishing backyard gardens (e.g., victory gardens), urban farming initiatives, farmers’
   markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA) projects, cooperatives and on-farm or
   community-based processing facilities (e.g., meatpacking, creameries, packaging and storage
   of fruits and vegetables, etc.), and plans for consolidating transportation and distribution.

Agriculture 2. Next-Generation Biofuels
The purpose of this work plan recommendation is to prompt production of advanced biofuels
including cellulosic ethanol, soy/grease biodiesel, and algae biodiesel. The analysis of the work
plan focused on quantifying costs associated with the cultivation of feedstocks (i.e., cellulose,
soy, and algae) and the production costs of fuels. The GHG reductions and costs or cost savings
associated with using the fuels are not addressed here but rather are addressed in the sectors
where the fuels would actually be used such as transportation for vehicle fuels (see Work Plan
No. 2 in Chapter 6), and residential for home-heating (see Work Plan No. 11 in Chapter 5).

GHG reductions are achieved when petroleum-based fuels are replaced with advanced biofuels.
This work plan focuses on in-state production of the biofuels. The production of biofuels was
quantified at two levels: first, the amount of biofuel necessary to meet Pennsylvania's share of
the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which is 3.63%, and second, the technical potential
of biofuel production based on using all available feedstocks (not including those that are already
being used for food, fuel, or fiber). The production of advanced biofuels necessary to meet
Pennsylvania's share of the RFS is 545 million gallons (MMgal) by 2020. The technical potential
is 1,375 MMgal by 2020. The GHG reductions from using the advanced biofuels are considered
in the transportation and residential and commercial sectors.

This agricultural sector initiative suggests the following implementation steps:
       • The production of feedstocks for biofuel, including winter crops;
       • Incentivizing biofuel producers to utilize these crops as a feedstock; and
       • The establishment of coordinated systems for biofuel production with economic
           incentives to agricultural producers to ensure the sufficient commitment of production
           of corn, soybean, and plant materials for biofuel use.

Any public investments or other incentives for biofuel production should include specific
requirements and conditions to assure that the harvesting and processing of feedstocks are
accomplished in an ecologically sustainable manner. It is extremely important to ensure that
biomass feedstocks for cellulosic bioenergy use in PA are produced in an ecologically
sustainable manner. As Pennsylvania continues its efforts to step up production of second-
generation biofuels, it can look to the work of initiatives such as the Council on Sustainable
Biomass Production, which is working on a set of voluntary biomass-to-biofuel sustainability
principles and standards for cellulosic feedstocks. When available, these standards should help
guide and inform future work on this plan and the related biofuel plans in the Transportation and
Residential sectors.

Agriculture 3. Management-Intensive Grazing (MiG)
This work plan recommendation would create incentives and provide support for farmers
wishing to transition their livestock operations from grain-intensive practices (which usually
requires importing of grain/nutrients into the state) to continuous MiG, which by contrast takes
advantage of more local resources and increases sequestered carbon in pasturelands. The target
recommended by the CCAC is to double the number of acres in Pennsylvania under MiG by

In addition to the implementation of MiG on farms, the initiative would help in marketing
Pennsylvania-grown, pasture-based products to Pennsylvanians. It would emphasize the benefits
from consumers that choose products that help to maintain the bucolic pasturelands for which
Pennsylvania is famous, while also improving the health of the planet by sequestering more
carbon through intensive grass production. The establishment of financial incentives for farmers,
grazers, and/or ranchers to transition to MiG would further facilitate achievement of the 2020

Agriculture 4. Manure Digester Implementation Support
Pennsylvania has been and will continue to support and encourage installation of manure
digesters and other energy-saving and -production implements on farms. DEP’s Energy Harvest
Grant continues to support such improvements, in addition to the Pennsylvania Grows program,
which helps farmers put together finance packages for such projects. Pennsylvania will also take
advantage of $2.4 billion of the federal stimulus package that is allocated for carbon capture and
sequestration, and the $165 million to be provided via the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy
Investment Act, which reserves some of its funds for alternative energy production.

Anaerobic digestion is a biological treatment process that reduces manure odor, produces biogas
which can be converted to heat or electrical energy and improves the storage and handling
characteristics of manure. Currently, there are 31 manure digesters in Pennsylvania. At least
14 of them have been funded through the Energy Harvest Grant program. Also, 16,600 dairy
cows are on farms with digesters out of over 561,000 dairy cows in Pennsylvania.5 The CCAC
recommends a target by which 50% of animals living in large or medium-sized farms (>100 head
for cattle and >1,000 head for swine) will have advanced manure management technologies
installed to reduce GHG emissions by 2020. This target would be achieved through continuation

    Penn State University, College of Agricultural Sciences, “Anaerobic Digestion on the Farm” pamphlet. 2006.

of grants and funding assistance through the Pennsylvania Grows program and Energy Harvest

Agriculture 5. Regenerative Farming Practices/Soil Sequestration from Continuous No-
Till Agronomic Systems
This two-park work plan includes targets for both regenerative farming and no-till agronomic
systems that would serve to increase the soil sequestration. The target for regenerative farming is
as follows: Increase the net carbon sequestration capacity of Pennsylvania agriculture by
(1) increasing the acres of farmland managed with regenerative cropping practices that improve
the rate of biological sequestration of atmospheric carbon as soil organic matter; and
(2) decreasing practices, and the use of products that release carbon into the atmosphere. The no-
till target would increase no-till acres to 1.5 million acres by 2020.

The Regenerative Farming Practices Initiative (RFPI) will encourage and guide farmers to
convert to cropping practices that generate a net increase in the amount of carbon sequestered
through a crop cycle. Husbandry, mechanical, and biological practices will be rated on their
estimated positive or negative GHG contribution, expressed as carbon equivalent (kg Ce/ha) to
allow assessment of a range of climate change impacts.

For the purposes of this work plan, it is assumed that conservation practices include conservation
till (no-till and strip-till), and other conservation farming practices that provide enhanced ground
cover, or other crop management practices that achieve similar soil carbon benefits. Common
definitions of conservation tillage are systems that leave 50% or more of the soil covered with

The implantation of regenerative farming and no-till farming programs would be aided by the
provision of funding, including carbon credits, federal grants, and state-level programs that
provide assistance to farmers undertaking alternative farming methods that will increase the soil
carbon sequestration.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector result almost exclusively from agricultural
soil management, livestock enteric fermentation and manure management. Opportunities to
reduce GHG emissions from the agricultural sector include: biofuel production to assist in fossil
fuel combustion reduction in the residential and commercial sector and land use and
transportation sector; manure management improvements including anaerobic digestion; and
agricultural carbon sink protection and enhancement via crop cultivation changes and more
efficient nutrient application.

Next Steps – Pathways to Implementation
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has engaged in a highly successful
marketing and branding program, PA Preferred®. The PDA estimates that 93% of
Pennsylvanians desire to purchase and consume locally-sourced products. The program has
increased awareness, accessibility and consumption of products grown and processed in

Pennsylvania. The PA Preferred® logo has become recognized by consumers, retailers,
wholesalers, chefs and restaurateurs as a symbol of superior taste, quality and freshness. The
Foodshed Development Strategy work plan can be an extension of the PA Preferred® program.
The development of foodshed strategic plans could be facilitated by the assistance of the Penn
State Agricultural Extension Offices. The PDA also administers the Direct Farm Sales Grant
Program that provides funds to manage or operate a farm stand or farmer's market and to
promote new or existing farmers' markets.

The Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Program allows farmers and businesses to
earn tax credits for conducting Best Management Practices (BMPs) on agricultural operations
that will enhance farm production and protect natural resources. Between 50% and 75% of
project costs may be eligible as state tax credits for up to $150,000 per agricultural operation.
The amount of tax credit available is dependent on the type of BMP implemented. Various
aspects of the Management-Intensive Grazing, Manure Digester Implementation Support and
Regenerative Farming Practices & Soil Sequestration via Continuous No-Till work plans are
included as eligible BMPs.

Financing programs such as the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority and various grant
programs through the Department of Environmental Protection (department) have assisted in the
development of manure digesters and may continue to do so, pending the availability of funds.
Additionally, the department has worked in partnership with Native Energy Incorporated to offer
innovative financing to farmers seeking to develop manure digesters. Native Energy has
provided financing to farmers in exchange for carbon offset benefit realized by these renewable
energy projects. Pennsylvania’s recently adopted net-metering rules also improve the economics
of digesters and other renewable energy projects, though the department notes that net-metering
is not supported by the rural electric cooperatives.

Various aspects of biofuel production and utilization are supported through Pennsylvania’s
recently adopted Biofuel Development and In-State Production Incentive Act. This would
include incentives for the production and utilization of Next-Generation Biofuels. The
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Penn State’s College of Agriculture are researching
opportunities for new biofuel crops such fodder and sugar beats that can be grown on marginal
lands and hull-less barley and canola, which can be grown in winter however, greater education
and outreach on the cultivation, benefits and marketability of these crops needs to be offered.
Such efforts should strive to be consistent with the Chesapeake Bay Biofuels initiative.


Description: Agriculture Sector