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Agriculture may benefit from new EPA emissions rules

YANKTON — The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new rules that would cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants by 30 percent by the year 2030.

The rules are part of the response of the Obama administration to climate change.

Johnathan Hladik, senior advocate for Energy and Policy at the Center for Rural Affairs, says farmers have been adjusting to climate changes for some time.

"The changing climate and increased carbon in the air is changing the way we farm, in some ways for the better but in most ways for the worst," he said. "I think stabilizing the climate, stabilizing the atmosphere and stabilizing the conditions in which we farm are all beneficial."

Hladik sees both wind and renewable energy as ways to reach that 30 percent carbon reduction targeted by the EPA.

He said many farm practices already work to sequester carbon, and have a positive climate impact.

"A lot of steps farmers can take right now that help sequester some of the carbon from the air, whether it's cover crops, whether it's more perennials, whether it's just different crops that you are growing," Hladik said.

Hladik said the new rules may allow farmers to look at their land productivity in a new light.