Alverson talks corn, carbon and climate at COP21

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Keith is the second person from the left.

Leaders from around the world are meeting in Paris at the Conference of Parties 21, commonly referred to as COP21, to discuss direct initiatives on how to globally address climate change.

Among the many discussions taking place, South Dakota Corn Growers president Keith Alverson gave a presentation on behalf of the National Corn Growers Association at a Field to Market event in Paris on Wednesday to explain how corn and soil health can play a positive role in the efforts to mitigate our changing climate.

Keith, a 6th generation Chester farmer, detailed 25 years of soil data from South Dakota and research being done on his family’s farm to show how corn farmers are sequestering carbon.

According to a study from South Dakota State University, today’s high-yielding corn crops and reduced tillage practices have turned South Dakota soils into carbon sinks.

Taking that carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it in the ground increases soil health and long-term, high-yield opportunities. Also, farmers who utilize no-till have crops that are better able to adapt to changing climatic conditions like drought or heavy rain, which can alter drastically from year-to-year or even month-to-month.

“Corn farmers not only have the ability, but an obligation to play a role in the world’s collaborative effort to address climate change,” stated Alverson. “Regardless of your beliefs, the world is getting warmer and farmers need to consider best management practices to improve their soil health, which in turn will benefit the soil and climate for future generations.”

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