FARMING

FARMING


The Earth's average surface temperature has increased by 1.5 °F (0.83 °C) since 1880 with the last years being the hottest. As global warming accelerates, so does extreme weather, which challenges farmers with droughts, floods, and pests. Extreme weather is the cause of 90% of crop losses in the US. And, now there are the trade wars hurtling down on soybeans.

Some fast facts:

In 2019, there were approximately 2 million farms in the US, down from 6.8 million in 1935.

Farmers and ranchers make up 1.3% of the U.S. labor force.

Farming contributes more than $100 billion to the US economy.

This FARMING section will explore how farmers are shifting their practices as they search for solutions, which protect both the climate and their ability to feed people. They are looking to the future for both new technologies and old traditions, such as regenerative agriculture to grow dying topsoil. They are re-examining the methods utilized to ease work and gain greater yields over the last seventy-five years and asking if they need to be reassessed.

Consumers are also learning. Many don’t have a full understanding of how big a role agribusiness has played in the decline of small farming communities. It is increasingly important for us to “know our farmer” and, useful for us to understand how decisions on trade can overnight decimate a rural farming community.

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

The nutrient density content in our food has dropped over 60%

07/13/22
Soilworks Invests, operates and incubates companies that will power the Regenerative Agriculture Revolution.

Soil Carbon Moonshot

04/18/22
3 Soil Carbon Moonshot Executive Summary Investments from the US federal government have shaped the notion of modern farming known across the country. For decades, the agriculture sector benefited from robust public research and investment…

Farm Bill Primer: What Is the Farm Bill?

02/17/22
The farm bill is an omnibus, multiyear law that governs an array of agricultural and food programs. It provides an..

Restoring Soil, Profits, Farms and Futures

01/31/22
Meet four world-renowned regenerative farming experts and learn why they formed Understanding Ag, LLC.

Regenerative Farm Map

02/06/20
Click any pin on the map to view more information about specific farms. This is the easiest way to find local farms in your area selling regenerative products.

Livestock for Landscapes

01/07/20
Kathy Voth's goal is to help farmers and ranchers be more profitable by helping them use their livestock's natural behavior as an inexpensive alternative for mangaging weeds and other vegetation.

CalCAN – California Climate & Agriculture Network

08/27/19
We represent a statewide network of sustainable farmers and ranchers and allied organizations, agricultural professionals, scientists, and advocates.

Fibershed – Carbon Farming

08/27/19
The carbon cycle is a critical natural process that moves carbon through Earth’s atmosphere, biosphere, pedosphere, lithosphere and oceans.

Carbon Cycle Institute

08/27/19
The Carbon Cycle Institute’s mission is to stop and reverse climate global change by advancing science-based solutions that reduce atmospheric carbon while promoting environmental stewardship, social equity and economic sustainability.

Land Trust Alliance

08/27/19
The Land Trust Alliance is the voice of the land trust community. As the national leader in policy, standards, education and training, we work passionately to support land trusts so they can save and secure…

A Greener World

08/27/19
Real transparency in food production from the farm right through to the plate.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

08/27/19
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of over 116 member groups that work collectively with NSAC's Washington, D.C.-based staff to promote and enhance sustainable food and farm policy at the federal level.

David Suzuki Foundation

08/27/19
Always grounded in sound evidence, the David Suzuki Foundation empowers people to take action in their communities on the environmental challenges we collectively face. We’re One Nature.

Eco-Farm

07/31/19
The Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm) is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to nurture safe, healthy, just, and ecologically sustainable farms, food systems, and communities by bringing people together for education, alliance building, advocacy, and…

NASA Study: Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels Will Help and Hurt Crops

05/03/16
Elevated carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere may increase water-use efficiency in crops and considerably mitigate yield losses due to climate change, according to a new NASA study.

MORE NEWS

A Wet Year Causes Farm Woes Far Beyond the Floodplains

By John Schwartz  Photo: Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune, via Associated Press   11/21/19  
A Utah renewable energy developer was hit by a first-of-its-kind cyberattack that briefly cut contact to a dozen wind and solar farms this spring, according to documents obtained by E&E News under the Freedom of…

High Plains Farmers Race to Save the Ogallala Aquifer

By Greta Moran   11/18/19  
By restoring soils and grasslands, farmers in the Texas Panhandle are conserving the last water beneath their feet.

Can regenerative agriculture reverse climate change? Big Food is banking on it.

By Gosia Wozniacka  Photo: Doug Chayka for NBC News / Getty Images   10/29/19  
Regenerative agriculture works to draw carbon out of the atmosphere and into the soil, but there’s an ongoing debate on how much carbon can be stored there and for how long.

The World Food Prize Should Help Farmers Fight Climate Change

BY ROBERT LEONARD AND MATT RUSSELL   10/17/19  
As the climate crisis rocks the world, and ethnic tension, population displacement, and war continue unabated, some of the finest minds in the world are meeting this week in Des Moines, Iowa at the World…

Planting Native Prairie Could Be a Secret Weapon for Farmers

By Nathan Beacom   10/15/19  
In Iowa, researchers and farmers are discovering that planting strips of native prairie amidst farmland benefits soil, water, biodiversity, and more.

Tom Steyer thinks his ranch can save the planet

10/14/19  
The long-shot presidential candidate wants to prove you can farm without destroying the environment. But like his campaign, it’s an expensive undertaking that’s had mixed results....

Extreme ‘Flash Drought’ in Southeast Means Big Trouble for U.S. Farmers

10/08/19  
By Dan NosowitzWhile the northern reaches of the continental U.S. are finally starting to feel a little chill, the Southeast is dealing with something very different.The...

Fine Fleece at Stone Steps Farm

By Amanda Fisk  Photo: Noelle Gaberman   10/07/19  
In the scenic Nicasio Valley of Marin County, Stone Steps Farm is a small, family farm breeding Pygora goats, mini Nubian goats, and Gotland sheep. Animals of all three breeds are friendly, gentle, and small enough to…

With $100, You Too Can Invest in Regenerative Agriculture

By Lisa Held   10/02/19  
Steward is putting capital into helping sustainable, small farms grow, while cultivating a new kind of farm investor.

We Can Stop the Climate Crisis

By Jeff Moyer   10/01/19  
At least, we can start reducing the 23 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently attributed to agricultural activities.

Across America, climate change is already disrupting lives

By Zoeann Murphy and Chris Mooney   09/26/19  
The continental United States is 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was a century ago. Seas at the coasts are nine inches higher. The damage is mounting from these fundamental changes, and Americans are affected…

The Farm Belt’s Miserable Year

By Jesse Newman, Kirk Maltais, Yaryna Serkez   09/25/19  
The trade war and bad weather are conspiring to create enormous challenges for U.S. farmers...

The Greenhouse Gas No One’s Talking About: Nitrous Oxide on Farms, Explained

By Gosia Wozniacka   09/19/19  
A report from Greenpeace International, GRAIN, and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found that Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer accounts for 2.4% of global emissions and its supply chain accounts for 21.5% of the annual…

How Big Agriculture Is Preventing Farmers From Combating the Climate Crisis

By RYAN BORT   09/19/19  
For years, the government has subsidized industrial monoculture rather than sustainability. Smarter policies could help save small farms — and the planet

How regenerative agriculture can help farmlands thrive and improve ecosystems

09/18/19  
Healthy soil is essential to the future of food production but our planet is losing 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil every year.

Down on the smart farm

09/17/19  
Berry-picking robots. Tablet-controlled tractors. Weed-sensing drones. How farms are going high-tech to produce more food with less water, fuel and chemicals....

The Great Flood of 2019: A complete picture of a slow-motion disaster

By Sarah Almukhtar, Blacki Migliozzi and Others   09/14/19  
This year's flooding across the Midwest and the South affected nearly 14 million people, yet the full scale of the slowly unfolding disaster has been difficult to fathom. The volume of water is only one…

Urban-farming camps have kids asking, where’s the healthy food?

09/04/19  
At summer programs in Harlem and the Bronx, children grow crops and talk about the limited sources of good nutrition in their neighborhoods....

‘We Can’t Waste a Drop.’ India Is Running Out of Water

By Bill Spindle  Photo: SvedOliver/Shutterstock   08/23/19  
The Ladakh region of northern India is one of the world’s highest, driest inhabited places. For centuries, meltwater from winter snows in the Himalayan mountains sustained the tiny villages dotting this remote land.

The Future of food: Why farming is moving indoors

By Russel Hotten  Photo: Square Roots   08/23/19  
Ten shipping containers dominate a corner of the Brooklyn parking area, each full of climate control tech, growing herbs that are distributed to local stores on bicycles. This is urban farming at its most literal.

Stonyfield’s Sustainable Land Management Plan Focuses on Soil Health, Sequestering Carbon

By Roya Sabri   08/22/19  
We can look to Stonyfield Organic as an example of a corporation that has taken sustainability seriously from its inception. The company’s newest initiative focuses even more on agriculture.

‘Lights!’ ‘Camera!’ ‘Action!’ It’s Long Overdue

By Erin Fitzgerald   08/21/19  
When I assumed the helm of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance in 2018, I have to admit that I had yet to awaken my inner Fellini. Certainly, there was a time in my life…

Heavy rains increase, fuel erosion

By Chris Rogers   08/21/19  
The fenceposts were gone. In their place, uprooted trees and schools of now-dead fish had been smeared across the pasture.

Looking to Land to Mitigate Climate Change

By Marina Schauffler   08/21/19  
Recent reports that the planet had its hottest four years on record highlight the need for accelerated work to keep global warming below critical tipping points. While nations shift to carbon-neutral economies, Earth’s forests, grasslands,…

Boston Eastie Farm Builds Community and Resilience on the Front Lines of Climate Change

By Meg Wilcox   08/21/19  
As the urgency of the climate crisis grows, more people are becoming aware of the carbon footprint of our food choices. According to the USDA, agriculture accounts for about 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas…

Boston’s Eastie Farm Builds Community and Resilience on the Front Lines of Climate Change

By Meg Wilcox   08/21/19  
Sprouting from a 3100-square-foot lot, the urban farm brings people together, feeds neighbors, and focuses on being climate-ready.

What the Climate Crisis Means for Land Rights

By Nathan Lobel  Photo: Pixabay   08/20/19  
The climate crisis will reshape our relationships to land around the world. Journalist David Wallace-Wells warns that, once the planet warms 2°C above preindustrial levels — the target set by the Paris Agreement — “major…

Weather: Farmers must harvest water

08/20/19  
The weather for the last three months has not been quite what we expected. It seems to be both wet and dry and one cannot plan for weeks ahead if the weather is something that…

Trading Water for cash along the Colorado River

By Luke Mcgrath  Photo: Bloomberg   08/20/19  
When it comes to global warming’s one-two punch of inundation and drought, the presence of too much water has had the most impact on U.S. agriculture this year, with farmers across the Midwest swamped by…

We’re barreling toward another Dust Bowl

By Erin Blakemore  Photo: NOAA George E. Marsh Album   08/19/19  
In 1935, the Dust Bowl came to Washington—and if we don't change our ways, it could come back. A new report from the UN climate committee warns that much of the world risks the kind of land…

How biomass helps farmers make the most of ‘waste wood’

By MNN Staff  Photo: SvedOliver/Shutterstock   08/19/19  
Trees are an important part of any farm. They reduce erosion and flooding, absorb air pollutants, provide habitat for insect-eating birds, and cast shade to help livestock stay cool. They produce crops, too, whether it's…

Soaking in the sun: Farmer aims to rejuvenate fields by tapping power of sunlight

08/19/19  
As soybeans started to blossom in Andy Lacey’s field west of Trent, another plant was in full bloom, sprouting clusters of white within the rows of beans....

Emergency water rights transfer saves 1,000 acres of Skagit Valley farmland

By Alison Morrow   08/18/19  
Farming has never been an easy job, but with drier summers and more protections for endangered salmon, it's increasingly complicated.

Acting now to protect land and our farmers

By Dan Glickman  Photo: Getty   08/18/19  
This has been a back-breaking year for American agriculture. President Trump just unleashed a new round of tariffs on Chinese products, and our nation’s farmers will once again pay the price.

As Beef Gets Booted Out of College Campuses, Meat Companies Take Note

By Leon Kaye   08/16/19  
Across the pond in the United Kingdom, Goldsmiths, which is part of the University of London system, made news with its announcement that beef products will no longer be sold beginning this academic year.

Sustainable farming lessons from the Amazon’s ancient inhabitants

08/16/19  
The rainforest's early inhabitants numbered in the millions, and that they managed the landscape intensively, in complex and sustainable ways — offering lessons for how we manage the Amazon today. ...

Agroforestry could help Cascadia’s farmers and dwindling salmon populations

By Margaret Morales  Photo: Margaret Morales, Sightline Institute   08/15/19  
Nick Pate can look across the street from his farm into Washington’s Snohomish River, where five salmon species swim to their spawning beds. The salmon are fighting a losing battle with habitat loss, declining water quality, and rising water temperatures.…

In Iowa, Candidates Are Talking About Farming’s Climate Change Connections Like No Previous Election

By Georgina Gustin  Photo by Alex Edelman   08/15/19  
About half the candidates have policy proposals or statements addressing climate change impacts on agriculture or farming's potential as a climate solution.

The Farms of the Future Were Built For Outer Space Will They Work On Earth?

By Emily Moon   08/14/19  
It will be years until NASA is ready for a journey to the red planet, but if Earth continues to suffer from climate change, Mars could come to us.
Vox

4 ways to be smarter about land use to fight climate change

By Umair Irfan   08/09/19  
A new UN report highlights the way we can use land to respond and adapt to a rapidly warming world.

A Profitable Climate Change Approach For Some Midwestern Farmers: ‘We Are All About Regeneration’

By Jill Barth  Photo: 2013 Getty Images   08/09/19  
Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz and their daughter Karlie manage a 950-acre farm in Stoney Creek, Minnesota. Like many farmers, they turned to Round-Up Ready crops as they became available, which are genetically engineered to withstand…

Farmers Don’t Need to Read the Science. We Are Living It.

By Alan Sano  Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters   08/09/19  
Many farmers probably haven’t read the new report from the United Nations warning of threats to the global food supply from climate change and land misuse. But we don’t need to read the science — we’re living…

New York Farmers Plan Projects to Deal with Climate Change

By Paul Post  Photo: Matthew Howard/CBC   08/02/19  
Converting cropland to pasture at a Mohawk Valley beef farm is one of many projects planned across New York thanks to $2.3 million in recently announced state funding.
CBC

‘Win-win’: Better fertilizer use by farmers saves money and the environment

By Bonnie Allen  Photo: Matthew Howard/CBC   07/30/19  
Bouncing through a durum wheat field south of Regina on an all-terrain vehicle, with a shovel strapped to the vehicle's back and an iPad mounted on its front, Tyler Kessler is taking soil samples and…

Why this AgTech Founder Believes Climate Change Demands Industry-Wide Innovation

By Ashwin Madgavkar   07/29/19  
The planet’s exponential population growth and redistribution correspond with increased CO2 emissions that will continue to magnify the impact of global warming in the coming decades. By 2050, the world’s population will include another estimated…

Farming a Forest

By Sarah Kennedy   07/29/19  
Lincoln Smith’s forested designs provide food, shade and carbon storage. On ten acres near Washington, D.C., Lincoln Smith grows food – but he does not plant in large tilled fields or tidy garden rows. He…

“I’m not a climate change guy, but…”: Farmers reckon with new reality in the heartland

By Rosa Tuiran  Photo: CBS News   07/26/19  
Walking over soggy lifeless crops, Brett Adams, a fifth generation Nebraska farmer, paused to catch his breath. Under the dark grey clouds of the Midwestern spring, he was forced to come to terms with an…

How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

By Alzbeta Klein  Photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su   07/26/19  
How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions ... how we farm and use our land (whether for food production, forestry, or other ... Vertical farms that rise to the challenge of climate…

The USDA Didn’t Publish Its Plan to Help Farmers Adapt to Climate Change. Here’s Where They Need It the Most.

By Tom Philpott  Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP   07/24/19  
The Trump administration’s department of agriculture has apparently settled on its strategy for preparing the food system for an uncertain future: ignore climate change.

Can Seaweed Help Curb Global Warming

07/01/19  
It's time for planetary-scale interventions to combat climate change -- and environmentalist Tim Flannery thinks seaweed can help.