Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Preferred Name - First Author

Ashleigh Cotting

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Integrated Science and Technology

Advisor(s)

Paul Goodall

Abstract

The purpose of this project is to assess the ability of Green Fence Farm, a 17 acre sustainable farming operation located in Greenville, VA, to become a net zero greenhouse gas farm operation. This project was conducted in several phases. First, the types and quantities of emissions were determined through an onsite fuel consumption evaluation and a greenhouse gas inventory of farm operations. Next, and calculations were used to determine the carbon sequestration capabilities of the soil and trees on the farm. Finally, ways to reduce emission and increase sequestration were examined with the intent of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

All of this information was used to develop a comprehensive plan for how Green Fence Farms can reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions through changes in farming practices, energy conservation and efficiency measures, fuel switching, and increasing carbon sequestration. The plan includes suggested steps to take, as well as economic analyses for each recommendation.

This project is of global significance because agriculture is one of the world’s leading sources of annual greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting the food and fiber needs of the world’s growing population will require the agricultural sector to grow. However, given that the effects of global climate change continues to worsen, it is imperative that while the agricultural sector grows, its emissions do not. Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of small farming operations is one way to lessen the global impact of the agricultural sector.

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