Image text reads, "La Follette Forum: Climate Policy"

Agriculture & Negative Emissions

Illustration of a plant stem with leaves.

Marquee Theater
1 — 2:15 p.m.  |  Breakout Session 2A

The agricultural sector has the potential to make important contributions to our climate. This panel addressed the role of agriculture in both addressing and adapting to climate change.

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Key Takeaways

  • Agriculture is a vital part of the past, present, and future of Wisconsin’s economy, but agriculture must become more environmentally friendly, release fewer emissions, and become more equitable for all. Research, data, evidence, collaboration, and experience are necessary for transforming agriculture into an environmentally friendly sector. 
  • Farmers and agricultural organizations have begun accepting that their practices can impact the climate. They have begun using no-till farming techniques, erosion controls, rotational grazing, and other regenerative, climate-smart farming practices in Wisconsin to mitigate climate change impacts. 
  • Negative emissions refer to removing carbon dioxide and other pollutants directly from the atmosphere. Negative emissions technologies are relatively new and will take a while to make large impacts. 
  • Some farmers and landowners have begun reserving land for forestry, cover crops, and wildlife in an effort to sequester carbon and have begun no-till farming in an effort to trap and keep carbon in the soil.
  • It will take a public-government partnership and ongoing collaboration between sectors to ensure that agriculture can help reduce emissions, and create negative emission scenarios. Funding, pilot programs, and new agricultural practices will be crucial.


Randy Romanski

Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection

Rebecca Webster

Assistant Professor, Department of American Indian Studies, University of Minnesota-Duluth

Thea Whitman

Associate Professor, UW-Madison, Department of Soil Science


Gary Besaw

Director, Menominee Tribal Department of Agriculture and Food Systems and Food Distribution Department