MEDINA COUNTY, Ohio — The Arters family has been farming in Medina County for more than 100 years. On Sunday, May 16, Tyler Arters climbed into the cab of his planter to restart work getting corn in the ground.
“This is the most important time — planting,” his father said. “So you’ve got to make sure it’s right.”
After two weeks of delays because of wet weather, Arters had to get seed planted.
“This planter is 16 rows,” he said.
On that day, he planted 100 acres. But all the work going into the ground means the carbon is going out.
“Ninety-seven percent of farms across Ohio are family farms, and they work hard every day to make sure those farms remain sustainable for the generation farming now and for many generations to come,” said Ty Higgins, the Director of Media Relations at the Ohio Farm Bureau.
He said farmers in Ohio are focused on lowering carbon emissions on their farms. And they could get help from the federal government with the Growing Climate Solutions Act.
The act has bipartisan support in the senate. Currently, it is waiting on a hearing. The act would create financial support for farmers who decide to participate in sustainable farming practices.
“It gives farmers more opportunity to sequester carbon right there on the farm to become more sustainable, do more practices that help their farm thrive, but also help the environment and get paid on the back end by selling those carbon credits that they’ve been able to sequester right there on their farm,” he said.
A farmer who keeps their carbon output low has the chance to make money by selling their carbon credits to companies and farmers with high carbon output. The hope is this practice will benefit the farmers and the Earth.
“We all want to be — be better at farming and preserve our soil and not harm the environment,” Arters said. “That’s not what we’re trying to do.”
Arters’ intention of being a good steward to the land is integral for the success of his business because the deterioration of the soil would make planting untenable. To protect the ground and help reduce carbon, the Arters have been planting a variety of winter cover crops including clover. But, more carbon-reducing practices could come at a cost.
“Fertilizer on this planter costs about $3,000 to fill it up each time,” he said about part of the cost of planting using the practices he has in place now. But, with strip-tilling – “which is instead of working the whole field, we just work the strip where we plant.” – in the future, Arters may have to invest in more equipment.
“There’s another $250,000 investment we have to make,”Arters said.
But the carbon credits are designed to help offset beginning costs.
“When a farmer can do something that’s going to help his farm, his or her farm and on the back end make a little money for the bottom line — that’s a really good thing for agriculture,” Higgins said.