Posts

Farmers in Rockingham County, Virginia check the results of no-till farming in their fields on September 9, 2008, as part of their participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI).

A closer look at farmer relief in senate pandemic aid package

from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition


Highlights

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by the President to aid businesses and Americans features specific provisions targeting farmers and food insecurity.

  • Agricultural Provisions
    • An important measure of the relief bill helps provide support for producers impacted by the coronavirus, specifically for specialty crop producers, livestock producers (including dairy), and producers that supply local food systems (including farmers markets, restaurants, and schools)
    • Farmers who have lost access to direct markets as a result of social distancing restrictions are estimated to lose more than $1 billion in sales this year
    • The bill lacks specifics on implementation, providing USDA no direction about how either source of funds should be divided, which farmers should receive priority, or how payments should be structured and delivered
    • The largest advocacy organizations that represent the ag industry have already made requests of Congress for more than $20 billion in immediate support
    • Fourteen billion dollars will be going to the Commodity Credit Corporation, a government corporation that helps maintain farm income and prices
  • Nutritional Provisions
    • Congress did not expand benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which will become increasingly important as more Americans face unemployment and may not be able to afford meals
    • The bill boosts funding for targeted emergency food assistance for tribal communities 
    • Child nutrition programs received over $8 billion in funding

Implementing bold and equitable policies that will catalyze carbon sequestration through building healthy soils and restoring healthy habitats will be key to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 and net negative emissions by 2035 for a Climate-Safe California.


Read More: https://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/closer-look-farmer-relief-senate-pandemic-package/

Farmers in Rockingham County, Virginia check the results of no-till farming in their fields on September 9, 2008, as part of their participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative (CBWI).

CCOF releases roadmap to an organic California policy report

by California Certified Organic Farmers


Highlights:

California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) recently released a Roadmap to an Organic California policy report.  The report highlights the personal and environmental health benefits of adopting 100% organic farming practices:

  • Benefits of organic farming include:
    • Sequestration – organic farming removes 14 times more CO2 from the atmosphere compared to non-organic farming 
    • Building healthy soils that can absorb more water and therefore prevent water pollution- There are millions of microorganisms beneath organic fields hard at work storing carbon in the soil
    • Supporting local farmers and boosting the local economy by providing jobs and keeping the money local
    • Organic produce provides higher levels of nutrients which promote human health and resilience
  • Organic farming helps build climate resilience:
    • Non-organic farms tend to be carbon emitters, while organic farms are carbon sinks
    • The increase of soil organic matter (SOM) creates healthier soil and increased water retention, helping farms produce higher yields under drought conditions by accessing water stored in soils
    • These farms have a reduced reliance on fossil fuel-based pesticides
    • Healthy soils are critical to climate change mitigation with the world’s soils capturing up to 25 percent of annual fossil fuel emissions

Implementing bold and equitable policies that will catalyze carbon sequestration through building healthy soils and restoring healthy habitats will be key to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 and net negative emissions by 2035. Help The Climate Center reach this goal by endorsing the Climate-Safe California Platform


Read More: https://ccof.org/sites/default/files/CCOF-RoadmapPolicy-Report%20Final.pdf

Goat herd as ecosystem reclamation tool – profile in land and management

by Gregory Horner, Tomkat Ranch


Highlights

In Wyoming, goats were used to restore the habitat destroyed by oil well facilities.

  • The company, Goat Green, was hired by Chevron to graze the land after herbicides and machinery failed to help restore the land to it’s previous conditions
  • Over 1000 goats were able to eat the weeds taking over the land and  are able to chew the seeds finely so they do not re-sprout in their manure 
  • The introduction of the goats on the land lasted 10 years and helped the soil regain its health and restored native vegetation
  • Soil testing showed a 25% increase in soil organic matter after the goat experiment ended

The Climate Center advocates for policies to fund and support carbon sequestration through healthy soils to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions at the speed and scale required by the science.


Read more: https://tomkatranch.org/2020/02/26/goat-herd-as-ecosystem-reclamation-tool-profile-in-land-and-management

Diverse coalition calls on legislature to restore climate smart agriculture funding

by Jeanne Merrill, CalCAN


Highlights

Governor Newsom’s budget proposal includes various bonds relating to the climate, but cuts funding for healthy soils and other agricultural-based climate programs.

  • The main critique of the proposed budget is that it doesn’t do enough to address real climate solutions and is not generous enough to the agriculture sector
  • One of the climate-based funds is the Climate Resilience Bond, which would allocate almost $5 billion towards weather resiliency, but focuses on “water-related activities”
  • The other is the Climate Catalyst Fund, which has received criticism from various groups because it may fund risky projects that do not actually reduce emissions 
  • Though agricultural land accounts for a quarter of the state and is also responsible for 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in California, only $200 million is proposed in the budget for agriculture investments and doesn’t include a sufficient strategy

The Climate Center advocates for policies to fund and support carbon sequestration through healthy soils to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions at the speed and scale required by the science.


Read more: http://calclimateag.org/diverse-coalition-calls-on-legislature-to-restore-climate-smart-agriculture-funding/

What would it take to get more farmers fighting climate change?

by Tom Philpott, Grist


Highlights

Maine Democrat Chellie Pingree introduced the Agriculture Resilience Act which aims to maximize carbon sequestration on farm and grazing lands.

  • The act aims to establish a national goal of net-zero greenhouse emissions from agriculture by no later than 2040, add more funding to food and agriculture research, maximize carbon capture on grazing lands, and reduce food waste by 75%
  • The Resilience Act also aims to maintain year-round cover on at least 75% of cropland in order to prevent erosion, create buffers during storms, and encourage more soil sequestration
  • The act will make it a requirement for farms to present a soil health plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to qualify for crop insurance subsidies
  • Though the bill will probably fail in a divided congress, it will set the stage for including agriculture in climate resiliency efforts in 2021

The Climate Center advocates for policies to fund and support carbon sequestration through healthy soils to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions at the speed and scale required by the science.


Read more: https://grist.org/climate/what-would-it-take-to-get-more-farmers-fighting-climate-change/

Tropical forests losing ability to absorb CO2, study says

by Daisy Dunne, Carbon Brief, January 27, 2020


Highlights

Tropical forests are losing their ability to capture carbon dioxide from the air due to deforestation. 

  • The boreal forests found in cool temperature, high mountain ranges are sequestering more CO2 than tropical forests due to the rise of the CO2 Fertilization Effect
  • Roughly 30% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are absorbed by the land, creating a “carbon sink” 
  • Carbon was lost in tropical forest regions due to lack of rain

The Climate Center aims to sequester 100+ MMT of additional CO2e per year by 2030 through healthy soils and vegetation management.


Read more: https://www.carbonbrief.org/tropical-forests-losing-ability-to-absorb-co2-study-says

A Tortoise Crosses a Hot and Trafficked Road. The Need to Restore the Environment is Here

U.N. biodiversity plan calls for protecting 30% of Earth by 2030

by Chris D’Angelo, Grist, January 19, 2020


Highlights:

  • The United Nations proposal outlines the need for world governments to protect nearly one-third of all lands and oceans and slash major sources of pollution by the end of the decade, in addition to a major reduction in emissions
  • A United Nations report in May found that up to 1 million land and marine species could be wiped out by human activity if present trends continue
  • The Center for Biological Diversity has prompted the United States to invest in species to protect and restore/create more wildlife sanctuaries to combat the start of Earth’s sixth mass extinction.
  • The 2030 goals include combating the spread and introduction of invasive species and cutting nutrient and plastic pollution by at least 50 percent

Protecting land and water habitats could also help with carbon sequestration.


Read more: https://grist.org/politics/u-n-biodiversity-plan-calls-for-protecting-30-of-earth-by-2030/?utm_content=buffer2cc53&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Regenerative Agriculture is having a moment with 70 investments worth $47.5 Billion

by Louisa Burwood-Taylor, Ag Funder News

Regenerative agriculture is having a moment. For long-time regen ag practitioners and proponents, this is probably jarring. But having written about regenerative agriculture for five years now, I’ve never seen such engagement or our stories about this ultra-sustainable method of farming perform so well.

Readers aren’t only engaging with the subject matter — the comments boards on these two stories are worth wading through — but the number of headlines about the strategy is also growing as more and more businesses realize the potential in what is, in fact, an age-old farming strategy.

Read more: https://agfundernews.com/regenerative-agriculture-investing.html

The plan to remove a trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere: Bury it

by Laura Reiley, Washington Post

Last month, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere surpassed 415 parts per million, the highest in human history. Environmental experts say the world is increasingly on a path toward a climate crisis.

The most prominent efforts to prevent that crisis involve reducing carbon emissions. But another idea is also starting to gain traction — sucking all that carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it underground.

It sounds like an idea plucked from science fiction, but the reality is that trees and plants already do it, breathing carbon dioxide and then depositing it via roots and decay into the soil. That’s why consumers and companies often “offset” their carbon emissions by planting carbon-sucking trees elsewhere in the world.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/06/12/new-plan-remove-trillion-tons-carbon-dioxide-atmosphere-bury-it/?utm_term=.28d478b12b82&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

Ethiopia PM launches 4 billion tree planting project, starting in Oromia

by Africa News

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed over the weekend kicked off what is meant to be a mission to plant four billion trees across the country – Africa’s second most populous nation.

The initiative which is under the banner of the National Green Development program is set to started during the rainy season.

“Over the past years Ethiopia’s forest coverage has decreased (in recent years) and the initiative is set mobilize national reforestation at 40 trees per head,” the PM’s office said in a social media post.
Abiy held discussions with the National Agri Transformation leaders in Adama city, in his home region of Oromia. He tasked participants – which included most high-profile government officials – on their role and responsibilities in modernizing the sector.

Read more: https://www.africanews.com/2019/05/27/ethiopia-pm-launches-4-billion-tree-planting-project-starting-in-oromia/