Now there’s an online tool developed to help you estimate the carbon sequestration and greenhouse-gas emissions associated with a variety of on-farm management practices. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, in collaboration with Colorado State University personnel, created this enhanced and expanded version.

"This is a user-friendly tool that any conservation-minded landowner can employ to evaluate their greenhouse-gas emissions," says Dave White, chief of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. "Once producers have a better sense of their carbon footprint, they can choose to make changes within their operations that will enhance the environment for their families as well as their local communities."

The tool, officially known as COMET-VR 2.0, is housed on the Colorado State website at http://www.comet2.colostate.edu/.

Similar to the first version, COMET-VR, version 2.0 is easy to use and connects to state-of-the-art models that help farmers and ranchers evaluate on-farm greenhouse-gas emissions and sequestration options. It estimates reductions associated with the implementation of conservation practices for cropland, pasture, rangeland, orchards and agroforestry. It also includes estimates for biomass and soil carbon stock changes, and carbon dioxide emissions from on-farm energy use.

The latest version expands the greenhouse-gas evaluation beyond carbon dioxide by estimating reductions in nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural practices that improve fertilizer and manure application efficiencies. In addition, COMET-VR 2.0 is compatible with national and international standards including the Environmental Protection Agency's U.S. greenhouse-gas annual inventory that documents such emissions nationwide.

COMET-VR 2.0 is applicable to all agricultural lands in the conterminous 48 states. Information necessary to evaluate land use and energy changes include state, county, parcel size, surface soil texture, approximate historic land use changes, tillage and fertilization practices, future land management and carbon storage practices, and current fossil fuel electricity consumption.

For more information about NRCS programs and services, go to www.nrcs.usda.gov or visit your local USDA Service Center.