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Monsanto carbon neutral crop production programme
07
Dec '15
As agriculture and farmers around the world work to mitigate and adapt to the complex challenges posed by climate change, American multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto has announced plans to make its operations carbon neutral by 2021 through a unique programme targeted across its seed and crop protection operations, as well as through collaboration with farmers.

“Climate change is one of the biggest issues we face in agriculture, as well as one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity,” said Hugh Grant, Monsanto Chairman and CEO. “That's why we have pledged to do our part within our own business and to help support farmers and others. While progress has been made to reduce agriculture's carbon footprint, we must work collectively to do even more if we are going to sustainably feed 9.6 billion people by 2050. Agriculture is uniquely positioned to deliver climate change solutions, and we hope that policy makers recognize the role agriculture, farmers and crops can play in mitigating carbon emissions.”

The company's efforts focus on several key areas such as seed production, crop protection and sharing data, increasing adoption of best practices, it said in a press release.

Under the seed production initiative, Monsanto will drive carbon neutral crop production in its own seed production operations by leveraging diverse products and agronomic approaches, such as breeding, plant biotechnology, data science, conservation tillage and cover cropping systems, with the goal of eliminating that portion of its carbon footprint altogether. The company also will work with farmers to promote and drive the increased adoption of these carbon neutral crop production methods.

The company also is also targeting its crop protection business to be carbon neutral by 2021. Previously, Monsanto announced a goal to reduce the operational greenhouse gas emissions intensity in its crop protection operations and has continued to make steady progress against its commitment. To offset the remainder of its crop protection and other non-seed production operations, Monsanto is working to develop a programme to provide incentives to farmer customers who adopt carbon neutral crop production methods – in exchange for part of their carbon reduction value. Monsanto will use those reductions as offsets to neutralize its remaining carbon footprint.

Monsanto has developed the carbon neutral crop models with the help of external experts and will share their data and modelling results with the broader agriculture, climate modelling and other communities to help drive the adoption of best practices and to reinforce the role crops can play in reducing carbon emissions. To date, these models are focused on the US Corn Belt, where the most accurate data on crop yields, soil types, crop rotations and best management practices are publicly available. The models indicate that high yielding, carbon neutral corn and soybean production, in the US alone, has the potential to reduce crop production emissions equivalent to 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equal to reducing 233 million barrels of oil consumption per year.

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