A tiny farm near the Mississippi River could help the Mississippi Valley’s forest recovery by reducing methane emissions, an important greenhouse gas.
The tiny farm is located in a part of the state where the area’s climate is warmer and more acidic.
But a larger farm nearby could create more problems for the state’s fragile forests, the state Forest Service says.
“We don’t have an option of a larger, bigger operation and that’s going to be a major problem for the region,” said Steve Guglielmi, the agency’s executive director.
“The smaller operations tend to have higher emissions, but we don’t know if they’re better for our forests.”
“The bigger farms are doing a lot of things that are detrimental to the forests,” Gugelmi said.
“It’s the farmers who do all the things that don’t help.”
The state Forest Program has received more than 30 proposals for land parcels for small farms to take over from big-time farms, Guglmi said, and they have received nearly 30.
Gugliemis office oversees more than 100 land parcels in Mississippi, which is home to more than 1.2 million people.
The agency is looking for small- and medium-scale farms in a number of locations.
“A lot of the big farms that we’ve got here in Mississippi are very small operations, so we’re really looking for a few different types of farms,” Gaglielmias office director of land management, Joe Rader, said.
Gagliels office is not the only agency to consider small- or medium-sized farms.
The state Department of Environmental Management has also received more proposals for small farm land in recent years.
“If you have an operation that’s doing less than five tons per acre, you might consider it,” Gurgielmi said of small- to medium-size farms.
“If you can handle it, you can do it.”
The USDA Forest Service has already approved more than 60 small-farm land parcels across the Mississippi Delta.
In 2017, the program received nearly 1,700 proposals, Gurgilis office said.
The agency has received proposals for about 15 acres near Mississippi State University, and another 3 acres near the city of Newnan, Goglielmia said.
The remaining parcels have yet to be finalized, he said.
A few small-to-medium farms in the Gulf Coast are already doing well, but the USDA Forest Program is considering all proposals, Rader said.
He said that’s the goal, because smaller farms are a way to help save the states forests, which are in poor condition due to climate change.
“You can do that through the small farmers,” Gurdelmi added.
“But the larger farms have higher methane emissions.
And if we can make sure that we’re not adding to the problem, then we can actually help the ecosystem.”