USDA is embarking on a new effort to create a “stand alone” set of agricultural GHG estimation guidelines. The methods will build upon previous efforts, incorporating the current state of the science to develop transparent and robust inventory tools, with a priority on ease of use. Section 2709 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 directs USDA to prepare these technical guidelines and scientific methods in order to assist farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in assessing the benefits from actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration. This is to be done at a farm-, land management- or entity-scale. In addition to serving farmers, ranchers and forest landowners, the guidelines and associated estimation and reporting tools should prove useful to USDA, NGOs, and private industry.
The guidelines will result in a methodology for integrated GHG estimation at the entity-scale for all agricultural (crop and livestock) and forest management activities. The project is planned for completion within the next three years.