Government efforts are being considered, as well.

“The Waxman-Markey bill failed but, essentially, it would have put in place a cap-and-trade policy on the amount of carbon specific industries could release.

“You don’t have to be an economist to realize that if we have consumer demand, industry pressure and government pressure, this isn’t a fringe topic anymore. Even if only one or two of the factors” gain traction, carbon policy “might be here to stay.”

How might the Mid-South prepare for that?

“Maybe the government cares about this but why should a producer care about carbon? The simple fact is the areas where the most carbon is released are also the areas where, if you reduce carbon, you increase economic profit.”

The two major components of rice’s carbon footprint, excluding methane emissions, are diesel fuel use for irrigation and nitrogen fertilizer application.

Nalley pointed to “great work” done by Trent Roberts and Nathan Slaton (both University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture researchers), who have been researching nitrogen efficiency testing. “By becoming efficient, you might use less nitrogen. If that’s the case, you’d lower your carbon footprint. It’s a cause-and-effect thing. That’s something the industry as a whole could put forward as being more efficient with carbon emissions release.”