While agriculture is sometimes portrayed as being a part of the problem in climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions, the French General Association of Wheat Producers is trying to show that it can also play an important role in the solution to climate change. Agriculture represents “a solution to reduce the effects of climate change,” the group said in a press release touting the potentially positive role cereals can play in reducing climate change. “Far from being a source of greenhouse gas emissions, our agriculture is above all a means to store carbon,” the group added.
Agricultural production of cereals in particular can also be used a sort of “carbon pump,” stocking carbon in organic matter and taking it out of the atmosphere.
The industry in France uses a sort of performance agriculture that uses high-tech tools like genetic selection to produce varieties of cereals that are more resistant to changes or disruptions in the climate, and satellite imagery, which helps producers make key decisions in the production process with ease. This ability to adapt is important, using a mix of research and technical innovation to achieve it.
Large-scale field crops are often more the victims of climate change than the guilty party as disruptions in the climate can lead to failed or reduced harvests through drought, flooding or storms.
France’s volumes of greenhouse gas emissions per inhabitant is decreasing, according to Jacques Mathieu, the general director of Arvalis, a technical research and development institute that provides services to the agricultural industry. Agriculture produces about 19% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to his data. The primary emitters of greenhouse gasses in wheat production is nitrogen, and Arvalis and other industry leaders are working on reducing these emissions by proposing satellite imagery technology to improve agronomical practices in France.