ADA, Ohio — A record crowd of nearly 1,000 people packed their way into the McIntosh Center on the campus of Ohio Northern University to hear expert discussion on issues as big as the globe.
From global warming and climate change policy, to conservation practices and soybean and corn school, it was all part of this year’s agenda at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference Feb. 24-25.
Farmers were assured of their part in these global topics, one that could put them in the driver’s seat as they make use of no-till and good conservation practices.
“We provide energy that doesn’t have to come from the Middle East,” said Ernie Shea, project coordinator of the project 25 by ‘25. “In doing so we (farmers) also stimulate economic development, we create (economic) engines, we are a growth arena. In addition to that, we provide high-value environmental services.”
The 25 by ‘25 project is a group of agricultural, forestry, environmental and conservation experts who are working toward the goal of securing 25 percent of the nation’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2025.
Bill Richards, co-chairman of the 25 by ‘25 project, said farmers need to follow the developments of climate policy, and continue the good stewardship they are known for.
“Remember guys, we’re doing fine with no-till,” he said. “We need to watch what’s happening and we want to watch how agriculture might participate, but we really want to keep on doing what we’ve been doing so well.”
Shea said there are three places carbon can go — the air, water or land. Both water and air already are saturated with carbon, he said.
“The only place left to pull it out and sequester it is in the land,” he said, “which means all eyes are focusing more and more on farming and ranching and forestry operations.”
Shea said a growing world population will put more demand on fossil fuels and other “finite” resources, making agriculture’s role even more important. World population, he said, is projected to reach 9 billion by 2025.
“Those people are going to be coming into the world with expectations similar to what we have, in terms of their lifestyle, eating habits, their spending habits,” he said.
Shea said the message he got from the global climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, is that “the world is groping with a very, very big problem and it’s going to take many years to sort it all out.”
But if the science is correct about greenhouse gasses and their role in climate change, then U.S. agriculture is poised a major role in helping solve the problem.
“The country is waiting for us,” he said. “The country needs the agriculture sector more than ever before.”
More news from the conference, which featured 60-pus presenters, is forthcoming. Visit http://ctc.osu.edu for updates.