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USDA announces online tool for GHG emissions


December 22, 2010
By Manure Manager

December 16, 2010,
Washington, DC – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) chief
Dave White recently announced the release of an enhanced and expanded online
tool developed in collaboration with Colorado State University (CSU) that helps
producers estimate carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions associated
with a variety of on-farm management practices.

December 16, 2010,
Washington, DC – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) chief
Dave White recently announced the release of an enhanced and expanded online
tool developed in collaboration with Colorado State University (CSU) that helps
producers estimate carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions associated
with a variety of on-farm management practices.

“This is a user-friendly
tool that any conservation-minded landowner can employ to evaluate their
greenhouse gas emissions,” White said. “Once producers have a better sense of
their carbon footprint, they can choose to make changes within their operations
that will enhance the environment for their families as well as their local
communities.”

The tool, officially known
as COMET-VR 2.0, is housed on the CSU web site at www.comet2.colostate.edu/.
Similar to the first version, COMET-VR, Version 2.0 is easy-to-use and
connected to state-of-the-art models that help farmers and ranchers evaluate
on-farm greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration options. The online tool
estimates carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emission reductions
associated with the implementation of conservation practices for cropland,
pasture, rangeland, orchards and agroforestry. In addition, the user-friendly
evaluation tool includes estimates for biomass and soil carbon stock changes,
and carbon dioxide emissions from on-farm energy use.

The latest version of the
tool also expands the evaluation of greenhouse gases beyond carbon dioxide by
estimating reductions in nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural practices
that improve the efficiency of fertilizer and manure applications. In addition,
COMET-VR 2.0 is compatible with national and international standards including
the Environmental Protection Agency’s U.S. greenhouse gas annual inventory that
documents greenhouse gas emissions nationwide.

COMET-VR 2.0 is applicable
to all agricultural lands in the conterminous 48 states. Information necessary
to evaluate land use and energy changes include state, county, parcel size,
surface soil texture, approximate historic land use changes, tillage and
fertilization practices, future land management and carbon storage practices,
and current fossil fuel electricity consumption.


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