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Q&A: Is Agriculture the Answer to Climate Change?

David Perry, the CEO of Indigo Ag—a company offering farmers cash for carbon sequestration—is betting on it.

In the popular imagination, solutions to climate change are often boiled down to reducing fossil fuel use and investing in alternative energy. Some would add underground carbon storage schemes or geoengineering techniques to the list, and perhaps tack on conserving forests and planting trees, as everyone knows this is nature’s way of pulling carbon out of the atmosphere.

But all plants absorb carbon as they photosynthesize, including corn, soybeans, wheat and the other commodity crops that now blanket huge swaths of the planet. And just like the trees in a forest, crops interact with microbes in the soil to produce organic matter, a stable form of underground carbon storage that outlasts the growth and decay of aboveground vegetation. Farmland is—potentially—a vast, inexpensive way to sequester carbon and store it long-term.

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