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

Impossible Foods and Regenerative Grazers Face Off in a Carbon Farming Dust-Up

By Nicole Rasul   06/19/19  
The plant-based burger company called regenerative grazing the “clean coal of meat” in a recent report. That hasn’t gone over well amongst carbon ranchers.

Potentially deadly valley fever is hitting California farmworkers hard, worrying researchers

By Twilight Greenaway  Photo: Anuj Shrestha / for NBC News   06/17/19  
Getting an accurate count of the number of people affected by valley fever is a challenge because the majority of those who are infected never know they have it.

Farmers adapting for ‘weather variability’ not climate change

By Kate Ravilious  Photo: iStock/jiangill   06/17/19  
Be it drought, severe storms, an early spring, wildfires or flooding, farmers are on the front line when it comes to climate change. You’d think they and the people who advise them might be the…

Can We Grow Enough Seaweed to Help Cows Fight Climate Change?

By Gosia Wozniacka  Photo: Australis Aquaculture   06/03/19  
Research suggests that adding red seaweed to cattle feed makes then burp 60 percent less. Now, some scientists are asking what it would take to do it at scale.

Pain of Tariffs Tests Farmers’ Faith in Trump: ‘How Long Is Short-Term?’

By Patricia Cohen  Photo: Tim Gruber   05/24/19  
The trade dispute with China has cost growers their No. 1 buyer, but they say the president is on the right course.

The Next Regeneration

By Greta Moran  Photo: Edgar Franks   04/30/19  
New York wants to fight climate change through good farming. Here's the dirt.

From Apples to Popcorn, Climate Change Is Altering The Foods America Grows

By Kim Severson  Photo: John L Russell/Associated Press   04/30/19  
In every region, farmers and scientists are trying to adapt an array of crops to warmer temperatures, invasive pests, erratic weather and earlier growing seasons.

“The Biggest Little Farm”: A Bumpy and Beautiful Road to Farming for a Healthier Planet

By Lena Brook & Arohi Sharma   04/26/19  
As industrial agriculture so often pollutes our soil, water, air, and people, this new documentary spotlights a different way to grow food and raise animals.

‘It’s a groundswell’: the farmers fighting to save the Earth’s soil

By Matthew Taylor  David Levene/The Guardian   04/24/19  
Farmers across the world are ditching their ploughs to protect ecosystems – and it’s working

Sodden Midwest farmers can blame warm Pacific for juicing storms

By Brian K Sullivan  Photo: Daniel Acker   04/24/19  
American farmers raising their fists to the sky this year may be better off directing their ire toward the ocean. Abnormally warm water in the eastern Pacific, along with a weak El Nino along the…

Farmers Fight Climate Change with Regenerative Agriculture

By Savannah Kuang   04/19/19  
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…

Carbon Farming: Harnessing The Power of The Soil

04/02/19  
John Wick, co-founder of the Marin Carbon Project, was just trying to find a way to get rid of weeds on his ranch when he stumbled upon a powerful climate change solution. He learned about…

Climate Change Is Already Reshaping How We Farm

By Audrea Lim  Photo: Edgar Franks   03/27/19  
After years of struggling through summer heat and wildfire smoke, farmers in Washington are building their own, cooperatively run, future.

The ancient climate solution you’ve probably never heard of

By Amanda Brown  Photo by Doug Mayo   03/26/19  
Climate change solutions come in two forms: mitigation and adaptation. While many proposed techniques focus on one or the other, some offer the benefit of slowing the global rise in temperature while adapting to now…

Art Cullen is Bringing Rural Farm Politics to the National Stage

By Twilight Greenaway  Photo by Dolores Cullen   03/05/19  
The Pulitzer Prize-winning news editor from Storm Lake, Iowa addresses the urgency of climate change in the Corn Belt and the impacts of agribusiness in his community.

Agrophotovoltaics: Combining Photosynthesis & Photovoltaics

By Geschrieben von and Tristan Rayner   03/01/19  
We recently wrote about the concept of "pollinator-friendly solar power" - an approach to planting the land around and inside a solar farm with carefully selected plants and vegetation to support pollinators like bees, beetles…

Farmworkers Are on the Frontlines of Climate Change. Can New Laws Protect Them?

By Nano Riley  Photo: Joshua Rainey / iStock   02/27/19  
As temperatures heat up, farmworkers face mounting health risks. Some advocates are creating and expanding laws to protect them.

How to fight climate change in agriculture while protecting jobs

By Laxmi Pant  Photo: Shutterstock   02/14/19  
Agriculture has become a carbon-intensive endeavour. Crop, livestock and fossil fuel use in agriculture account for about 25 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Agrivoltaics: Solar Panels on Farms Could Be a Win-Win

By Sarah Shemkus  Photo: Hyperion Systems   01/22/19  
Massachusetts is leading the charge in dual-use solar installations, making it possible to grow some crops and pasture animals while generating clean energy.

Silvopasture Can Mitigate Climate Change. Will U.S. Farmers Take it Seriously?

By Lela Nargi  Photo: USDA National Agroforestry Center   01/07/19  
The ancient, sustainable practice of pasturing animals among trees is gaining traction in the U.S. If it scales up, it could help shrink our carbon footprint.

Sparing vs Sharing: The Great Debate Over How to Protect Nature

By Fred Pearce  Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/CIFOR   12/03/18  
What is the best way to save nature – to cordon off areas for parks and open space or to integrate conservation measures on working lands?

Americans Have Planted So Much Corn That It’s Changing the Weather

By Eric J. Wallace  Photo: Craig Chandler / University of Nebraska   12/03/18  
More corn means more transpiration. Which, in turn, produces slightly cooler temperatures and increased precipitation. The fact that corn is a non-native species boosts the effect.

To share or not to share?

By Paola Rosa-Aquino  Photo: Amelia Bates/Getty   11/21/18  
Native communities are one of the groups most impacted by a changing climate — and many of the human activities that have precipitated it. They are also a necessary part of the solution, according to the newest Intergovernmental Panel…
NPR

5 Major Crops In The Crosshairs Of Climate Change

By Dan Charles  Photo: Heather Kim/NPR   10/25/18  
Climate change is coming like a freight train, or a rising tide. And our food, so dependent on rain and suitable temperatures, sits right in its path.

Death by fertilizer

By Nathanael Johnson  Photo: Nathanael Johnson   10/02/18  
Nitrogen fertilizer is a disaster. Abandoning it would be a bigger disaster. Now a dozen billionaires are funding an alternative.

Compost: Secret Weapon Against Climate Change?

By Sarah West  Photo: Getty   09/20/18  
Fossil fuels can only release carbon into the atmosphere, but soil – and the vegetation that covers it – is a two-way street. Through photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide, storing it in their roots and…

Rising CO2 will leave crops—and millions of humans—less healthy

By Brian Bienkowski  Photo by Dương Trí/Unsplash   08/28/18  
Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will render some major crops less nutritious and leave hundreds of millions of people protein and zinc deficient over the next three decades, according to a new…

Grasslands More Reliable Carbon Sink Than Trees

By Kat Kerlin  Photo: Getty Images   07/09/18  
Forests have long served as a critical carbon sink, consuming about a quarter of the carbon dioxide pollution produced by humans worldwide. But decades of fire suppression, warming temperatures and drought have increased wildfire risks…

The Nitrogen Problem: Why Global Warming Is Making It Worse

By Richard Conniff  Photo: NASA/NOAA   08/07/17  
New research shows that increases in rainfall and extreme weather because of climate change will increase the amount of nitrogen polluting rivers and other waterways. The findings underscore the urgency of reforming agriculture to dramatically…

The magic of mycorrhizal fungi

By Alan Newport   04/19/17  
The vital life under the soil is determined by the paths you choose on top of the soil.

Farmland management changes can boost carbon sequestration rates

By J. Merritt Melancon   05/12/15  
Well-maintained pastures prevent erosion, protect water and, as it turns out, can restore the soil's organic matter much more quickly than previously thought, according to a team of researchers from the University of Georgia and…

The Key to the Environmental Crisis is Beneath Our Feet

By Ellen Brown   01/28/10  
The Green New Deal resolution that was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives in February hit a wall in the Senate, where it was called unrealistic and unaffordable. In a Washington Post article titled…