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Budget Bill Could Boost Climate-Friendly Practices in Ohio

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Tuesday, September 14, 2021   

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As the contributor of 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture has had a profound impact on climate change.

Legislation in Congress would help Ohio farmers and producers become part of the solution.

Drausin Wulsin, manager of Grassroots Farm and Foods in Hillsboro, raises organic, grass-fed livestock using climate-friendly practices. He said they converted about 300 acres of bottom land into pasture for grazing, which doubled the organic matter in the soil in about six years.

He added combating the impacts of climate change on his operation are a constant battle.

"A month ago, we had three and a half inches of rain in an hour, and we woke up in the morning and the cattle were knee-deep in water," Wulsin recounted. "And then three years ago it rained all winter long. So we're rethinking our operation because these flooding episodes are becoming more and more frequent."

The $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package being drafted by Congress this week includes proposed funding to mitigate climate change.

Sustainable agriculture advocates are calling for $30 billion to support conservation and climate-friendly agriculture programs that reduce greenhouse emissions, as well as $5 billion for climate-resilience research and programs.

Wulsin also manages a wetland mitigation bank in Pike County, where trees and wetlands are planted on retired farmland.

He pointed out between the wetland project work and grazing management, they are offsetting the pollution of about one car per acre.

"So we have about 600 acres, so it's about 600 cars per year," Wulsin explained. "If you take that bit of arithmetic, and you apply it across the corn belt, that would have a profound impact on our whole issue of carbon sequestration."

Wulsin noted sustainable farming is a difficult business, and those who care need tools and resources to provide technical assistance, which will help them reach their carbon-reduction goals and maintain viable farming operations.

"It's a capital intensive business, but with support it can have tremendous impact," Wulsin contended. "And we need a broader range of people coming into this business with energy and strength of mind and strength of back."


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