The two agricultural practices with the greatest potential for combating climate change on U.S. soils are cover crops and no-till/strip till. These practices were initially promoted as a means to stop soil erosion, but we now recognize that they have multiple benefits, including climate mitigation.
Rapid adoption of cover cropping and no-till in the next three to five years can reduce net greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions by 97 million metric tons of CO2e per year—the equivalent to removing 21 million passenger cars from the road for a year or to growing 1.6 billion tree seedlings for one year.
But practices like cover crops and no-till work to reduce GHGs, sequester carbon, and improve soil health only when maintained for the long term. Tilling or converting farmland to other uses would rerelease carbon into the atmosphere.