Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Family farmers make climate-friendly vodka and whiskey » Yale Climate Connections

Will Glazik, a fifth-generation farmer in Paxton, Illinois, hopes you’ll take a shot at reducing global warming — a shot of whiskey, that is.

Glazik and his siblings run Silver Tree Beer and Spirits. They make vodka and whiskey from grain grown on their family farm.

Glazik: “We’re literally having our hands in every step.”

And they’re committed to making it sustainable. They avoid tilling, which churns up the soil and releases carbon to the atmosphere.

Glazik: “We’re using livestock manures and cover crops for fertility on our fields, and we’re not bringing on any synthetic fertilizers, which are very carbon-intensive for production and transportation.”

To encourage a larger shift in the industry, his company launched the Take a Shot at Climate Change initiative.

Participating distilleries agree to buy their grain from farms that store more carbon than they produce. They must be verified by COMET-Farm — a tool developed by the USDA and Colorado State University.

Just a small fraction of farmland in the U.S. is used to grow grain for spirits.

Glazik: “But it is a significant enough land base that we can, as farmers, start having an impact on our environment.”

Glazik says that by role-modeling sustainable practices, a few farmers can inspire larger change.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media

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