Agriculture

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture (primarily industrial), originating in the US, contributed about 9% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2017, according to the EPA. However, the food system at large, including feed, fertilizer and pesticide manufacture, processing, transportation, refrigeration and waste disposal, contributes about 30% or more of total annual global greenhouse gas emissions. Recent data from the Rodale Institute indicates that we could sequester more than 100% of our current annual CO 2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, commonly called “regenerative organic agriculture.” “These practices,” says the report, “work to maximize carbon fixation while minimizing the loss of that carbon once returned to the soil, reversing the greenhouse effect.” Additionally, organic and regenerative agricultural practices have proven to improve air quality. Another study by the Rodale Institute has found just one acre of organically farmed land can subtract up to 7000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

Cropland occupies about one-fifth of U.S. land. One-third of our entire corn crop is devoted to ethanol production with most cropland being used for livestock feed, exports or left idle to let the land recover. The actual land area used to grow the food Americans eat is much smaller—only about the size of Indiana, Illinois and half of Iowa combined. More than one-third of U.S. land is used for pasture—by far the largest land-use type in the contiguous 48 states. There’s a single, major occupant on all this land: cows. Between cropland —used to produce feed-- and pastures, 41 percent of U.S. land in the contiguous states revolves around livestock. All this from Bloomberg.

As a consumer and as a farmer, there is a lot to know when it comes to our shifting food system. Learning the language allows for consumers to ask for products that are being managed using Zero Carbon footprint. Understanding agricultural issues and practices help support farmers and our need to shift to sustainable practices.

CURRENT NEWS

These farmworkers created America’s strongest workplace heat rules

By Nicolás Rivero and Eva Marie Uzcategui 02/17/24
The sweet, earthy scent of tomatoes hangs in the air as a crew of 44 workers speeds through rows of vines. They fill 32-pound buckets with fruit, then deliver them to co-workers waiting on the…
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EPA to Fund Studies of Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Agriculture

By Liza Gross 10/30/23
The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Thursday $8 million in new research funding to understand how the toxic compounds known as “forever chemicals” are affecting plants and animals in agricultural, rural and tribal communities. The…
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Corn Harvests in the Yukon? Study Finds That Climate Change Will Boost Likelihood That Wilderness Gives Way to Agriculture

By Kiley Price 10/19/23
Climate change has the potential to restructure the world’s agricultural landscapes, making it possible to plant crops in places where they have never been viable historically. Within the next 40 years, these new growing regions…
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Alaska’s newest gold rush: Seaweed

By Juliet Eilperin 07/31/23
Dune Lankard piloted the gleaming gill-net fishing boat to Simpson Bay, where eight buoys bobbed in the sunlight. The bright orange inflatables, connected by lines and spread out across five acres, provided the only indication…
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Climate Change Risk To Global Crops Underestimated

By Chris DeWeese 07/18/23
It sounds like the plot of a dystopian novel: Crop failures occur simultaneously in multiple major food-producing areas around the world, leading to price spikes, food shortages and even civil unrest. But the authors of…
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A new soil carbon bill breaks ground

By Cristel Zoebisch 07/12/23
It is a big day for land-based carbon removal policy. Today, Senators Smith (D-MN) and Young (R-IN) introduced the Advancing Research on Agricultural Climate Impacts Act (ARACI), a critical roadmap to scaling monitoring, reporting, and…
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USDA launches effort to upgrade climate data tracking

By Ellyn Ferguson 07/12/23
The Agriculture Department will use $300 million to improve its measurement, verification and tracking of carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions as it moves ahead with climate-smart agriculture and forestry efforts, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack…
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U.S. Department of Agriculture to invest $300 million in monitoring agricultural emissions

By Melina Walling 07/12/23
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that his department will invest $300 million to improve the measurement and reporting of planet-warming emissions by the country’s agriculture and forestry sectors.
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Georgia peach farmers pursuing solutions to crop losses caused by climate change

By Gautama Mehta 07/11/23
Middle Georgia’s peach growers, who have been devastated by a harvest ruined by bad weather, have little in the way of financial recourse to offset their losses.
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‘An Insane Amount of Water’: What Climate Change Means For California’s Biggest Dairy District

07/10/23
Tulare County is the largest dairy producer in California and the US. But as climate change exposes the region’s vulnerability, could the industry collapse under its own weight?
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Climate change ratchets up the stress on farmworkers on the front lines of a warming Earth

By Melina Walling 07/08/23
Mily Trevino-Sauceda was 9 when her mother fell as she worked to move irrigation pipes along rows of potato and alfalfa on an Idaho farm. Mily’s 10-year-old brother splashed water over their mother’s face and…
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Report: Retooling USDA programs for climate mitigation is ‘politically fraught’

By FERN's Ag Insider 07/07/23
The USDA could use its biggest land stewardship programs — the Conservation Reserve, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) — to combat climate change, wrote University of Maryland professor…
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KEY RESOURCES

The Power Of Prevention

02/27/24
The Fair Food Program is a market-backed, worker-driven social responsibility program that protects and promotes the human rights of farmworkers in America.

Options To Enhance The Resilience Of Agricultural Producers And Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposure

01/03/23
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has efforts underway to encourage agricultural producers to enhance their resilience to climate change. Specifically, USDA has taken some steps to develop and disseminate information about climate change to…

Colorado research farm studies benefits of pairing agriculture with solar panels

10/25/21
Fields of solar panels are increasingly common across the country. And people are exploring new ways to use the land under and around the arrays. Some farm vegetables. Others graze sheep or grow pollinator plants…

What is “soil carbon”? – Soils Matter, Get the Scoop!

10/01/21
You may have heard a lot about soil carbon, “storing” carbon in soil, or “carbon markets.” So, let’s look at the relationship between soil and carbon in basic terms.

Harvesting Peril Extreme Weather and Climate Change on the American Farm

07/02/21
Farmers are on the frontline of climate change, at the mercy of worsening extreme weather. Farms also contribute to the problem. But they could help solve it, through practices that could store billions of tons…

Stone Edge Farm

06/14/21
Imagine a lush, self-sustaining island that generates clean electricity, grows organic food and wine grapes, re-uses water, and creates fuel for zero emission vehicles.

New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States

11/28/20
According to new data from the Rhodium Group analyzed by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, warming temperatures and changing rainfall will drive agriculture and temperate climates northward, while sea level rise will consume…

Sustainability in American Agriculture Defining “Sustainable Agriculture” For All of Us

06/25/20
"Sustainability" is a word often associated with food and farming. Everyone wants to know that their food was sustainably raised, harvested, processed, and even consumed. However, does anyone actually know what sustainability is, or what…

Sustainable Agriculture

06/24/20
This system, with its reliance on monoculture, mechanization, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, biotechnology, and government subsidies, has made food abundant and affordable. However, the ecological and social price have been steep: erosion, depleted and contaminated…

Online Adaptation Planning And Practices Course (Free)

06/11/20
A unique hands-on virtual training to consider the impacts of climate change adaptation responses in real-world natural resource management planning. This seven-week long virtual course is for natural resource management professionals working in forests, urban…

The industry’s most comprehensive agricultural data platform with unparalleled insights and forecasts.

02/06/20
Gro brings the power of forecasting to your agriculture-related challenges. We organize vast amounts of global data into a common language, allowing you to quickly find the data you need and integrate your own data,…

Agribusiness and Climate Change: How Six Food Industry Giants Are Warming the Planet

02/05/20
Agriculture's critical dependence on fossil fuels and the clearing of forests, grasslands and prairies for farming are the top two factors responsible for today's massive global increases in CO2.

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

02/05/20
“Regenerative Agriculture” describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.

The 9% lie: industrial food and climate change

02/05/20
The Climate Emergency is finally getting the attention of the media and the U.S. (and world) body politic, as well as a growing number of politicians, activists and even U.S. farmers.

Our Impact on Climate Change and Global Land Use in 5 Charts

08/09/19
In addition to tackling emissions in our cities and transportation networks, we’ll need to substantially change the way we use our land and rethink our entire agricultural system if we’re serious about mitigating the impact of…

OECD – Trade and Agriculture

07/31/19
The Trade and Agriculture Directorate is one of twelve substantive departments of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and provides policy analysis and advice to help governments develop trade, agriculture, and fisheries policies that contribute to more inclusive…

USDA – United States of Department of Agriculture

07/31/19
The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) conducts research on a range of climate change issues, including: The impacts of climate change on crop and livestock production; the implications of climate change for food security; the international…

Stone Barns

07/31/19
Stone Barns invests in farming that is resilient and regenerative, so that they can grow a vibrant way of farming that delivers fresh and healthy food to more Americans.

Environmental Protection Agency

07/31/19
Their mission is to protect human health and the environment. Learn more about their mission and what we do.

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…

FAO – Food and Agriculture of the United Nations

06/24/19
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Our goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have…

MORE NEWS

Official recognition of WSR model’s unique power to protect human rights continues to grow with USDA announcement!

10/13/23  
In the final weeks of September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an unprecedented new initiative, the Farm Labor Stabilization and Protections (FLSP) Pilot Program, which has been years in the making. The FLSP was…
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The Rockefeller Foundation and The/Nudge Institute Unveil Climate Change’s Impact on Smallholder Farmers in India, Paving the Way for Resilient Solutions

07/04/23  
The Rockefeller Foundation and The/Nudge Institute announced new findings of their ‘Smallholder Farmers and Climate Change – Voices from the Field’ report, which breaks down how climate related challenges are impacting smallholder farmers across India,…
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EU will regret making farmers scapegoats for climate change

By Eoin Drea   06/19/23  
Wasn’t the war in Ukraine — and the soaring supermarket bills that followed — supposed to make food security a top priority for the European Union?
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America Has a Chance to Make Farming More Climate Friendly

By Robert B. Semple Jr.   06/12/23  
In an age defined by technology, we tend to take farmers for granted. Yet farmland continues to dominate the American landscape. An astonishing number of acres — close to 900 million, more than half of…
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Department of Agriculture Conservation Programs Are Giving Millions to Farms That Worsen Climate Change

By Georgina Gustin   06/09/23  
The Department of Agriculture gives tens of millions of dollars every year to farmers and ranchers to support conservation efforts on their farms, but much of the funding ends up at big, industrial-scale operations that…
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Five Farming Technologies Tackle Climate-Change Threats

By Nidhi Subbaraman   06/04/23  
Agriculture faces some daunting challenges from a changing climate in coming years, scientists project. Heavy rainfall is expected to become more frequent, with resulting erosion of soil decreasing available nutrients. Growing conditions are forecast to…
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Why the Farm Bill May Be the Highest-Stakes Climate Fight Flying Below the Radar

By Drew McConville, Jasia Smith and Mariel Lutz   05/25/23  
The stakes are high as Congress begins serious discussions to reauthorize the farm bill, which expires at the end of September 2023. Among other things, this legislation represents a major opportunity to enable private landowners,…
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The Country’s Largest Climate Change Planning Effort Needs Input from Agricultural Organizations

05/22/23  
States and large municipalities recently confirmed with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that they will participate in developing Climate Pollution Reduction Plans under the new Inflation Reduction Act-funded program. This is the first federal…
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Purdue-led USDA project aims to double impact of climate-smart Corn Belt agriculture

By Steve Koppes   05/18/23  
Purdue University is leading a $1.5 million partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Midwest Climate Hub to help a highly diverse group of farmers and landowners in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa learn what practices…
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AIM for Climate Summit Highlights Private Sector Investment in Driving Climate Action, Crucial Role of Women’s Leadership

05/09/23  
The second day of the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) Summit kicked off with keynote remarks from His Excellency Engineer Mohammed Alameeri, Assistant Under Secretary, Food Diversity Sector, Ministry of Climate Change…
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AIM for Climate Summit Opens with Global Food Systems Innovation and Climate-Smart Agriculture Initiatives

05/08/23  
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, co-host for the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) Summit, today announced during the Summit’s opening plenary that AIM for Climate partners from around the globe are…
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USDA Kicks-off Effort to Expand Market Opportunities for Climate-Smart Commodities and Learn from Pilot Projects

04/27/23  
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the official kick-off of the implementation phase for projects funded through the $3.1 billion Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities effort. Project partners are beginning work on formal implementation…
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How Does Climate Change Affect Agriculture?

By Mark Chandler   04/21/23  
Climate change is an ever-present reality. Everyone on the planet feels the effects, but especially people in low-income countries and those who depend on specific climate conditions and natural resources to survive: the world’s smallholder…
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Climate change unequally affects nitrogen use and losses in global croplands

By Chenchen Ren and others   04/13/23  
Maintaining food production while reducing agricultural nitrogen pollution is a grand challenge under global climate change. Yet, the response of global agricultural nitrogen uses and losses to climate change on the temporal and spatial scales…
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The Agriculture Resilience Act in 2023

03/29/23  
Farmers across the country are experiencing climate impacts as a crisis. From losing seed crops as wildfires rage for weeks, to losing entire crops as a result of erratic freezes, to losing farms as drought…
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As Emissions From Agriculture Rise and Climate Change Batters American Farms, Congress Tackles the Farm Bill

By Georgina Gustin   03/01/23  
When Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) took to the stage at a recent conference in Washington, he made an urgent plea—a call for transformation that he framed as a moonshot.insi
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Extreme Heat Poses an Emerging Threat to Food Crops

By Liza Gross   09/09/22  
As the American West grapples with another dangerous heat wave in the midst of a megadrought, official advisories rightly focus on short-term measures to keep people cool and hydrated. Yet as record-breaking heat waves become…
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Growing the Impacts of Climate-Smart Agriculture

By Sara Frueh   07/26/22  
Roughly 11 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — mostly nitrous oxide and methane — can be traced to the nation’s agricultural sector. A range of ‘climate-smart’ farming practices have the potential to lower that…
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The race against time to breed a wheat to survive the climate crisis

By Nina Lakhani   07/12/22  
It’s late afternoon, and the farmhands are shaded by wide-brimmed sun hats as they work in an experimental wheat field in northern Mexico, preparing the wheat flowers to be cross-pollinated in a couple of days.…
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The secret world beneath our feet is mind-blowing – and the key to our planet’s future

By George Monbiot   05/07/22  
Under one square metre of undisturbed ground in the Earth’s mid-latitudes (which include the UK) there might live several hundred thousand small animals. Roughly 90% of the species to which they belong have yet to…
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Complex Models Now Gauge the Impact of Climate Change on Global Food Production. The Results Are ‘Alarming’

By Georgina Gustin   03/27/22  
Inside dozens of bankers boxes, stacked high in a storage locker in New York City, Cynthia Rosenzweig has stashed the work of decades: Legal pads covered in blue-inked cursive with doodles in the margins, file…
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Could climate change make food less nutritious?

By Greta Moran   11/16/21  
New research looks at the way climate change will impact crop yields and foods rich in micronutrients like zinc, vitamin A, and iron, putting low- and middle-income countries at increased risk of malnutrition.
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Climate change fuels drive toward cleaner tractors

By Marc Heller   10/20/21  
Making tractors burn with less pollution has long posed a trade-off: cleaner air, but less power to drag heavy equipment. Now manufacturers say they’re making strides to help close the gap. The latest entrant is…
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Methane from Agriculture is a Big Problem. We Explain Why.

By Lisa Held   10/06/21  
A version of this article originally appeared in The Deep Dish, a members-only monthly newsletter from Civil Eats. To read the full issue, with exclusive reporting,...
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Growing Uncertainty in the Central Valley

By Anna Wiener   09/15/21  
One weekend in late June, I drove with friends to Yolo County, California, a rural area in the Sacramento Valley. It was the second day of a multiday heat wave, and temperatures approached the triple…
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When Hard Jobs Turn Hazardous

By Sergio Olmos   09/05/21  
In early summer, a day laborer laying irrigation lines at a plant nursery just south of Portland, Ore., collapsed to the ground and died. His official cause of death was declared “heat related.”
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First-of-its-kind study shows that diverse landscapes could boost US crop yields by 20%

By Emma Bryce   08/27/21  
Increasing land cover diversity in agricultural landscapes is about more than protecting nature: it could also increase crop yields across large areas of the United States by up to 20%, according to a recent Nature…
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Indigenous rancher is a 125th-generation land steward

By YCC team   08/03/21  
As farmers grapple with climate change, many are turning to regenerative agriculture practices. These techniques help store carbon in the soil and make the land more resilient to extreme weather. The approach is increasingly popular,…
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Biden wants to pay farmers to grow carbon-capturing crops. It’s complicated

By Helena Bottemiller Evich And Ryan Mccrimmon   07/29/21  
President Joe Biden’s goal of paying farmers and ranchers to help battle climate change is running into the reality of how complicated and costly it will be. Six months into the administration, officials have yet…
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The USDA Wants to Make Farms Climate-Friendly. Will It Work?

By Leah Douglas   07/19/21  
What if all it took to make a dent in agriculture’s contribution to climate change was to pay farmers not to farm?
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2020 Disaster Estimations Reveal at Least $3.6 Billion in Uncovered Losses

07/08/21  
Hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts – oh my! Not only was 2020 defined by COVID-19-induced volatility, over 22 weather and climate disasters, each with damages reaching over a billion dollars, hit the U.S. coast to coast…
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The Food System’s Carbon Footprint Has Been Vastly Underestimated

By Greta Moran   06/30/21  
As drought, heatwaves, and hurricanes ramp up for the summer, and the United Nations’ Food Systems Summit draws near, a group of scientists and policy experts hope to send a clear message about just how big a…
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World’s Largest Producer of Potatoes Commits to 100 Percent Regenerative Agriculture by 2030

By Sarah Lozanova   06/11/21  
When McCain released its latest sustainability report, the company also committed to embracing regenerative agriculture. The world’s largest producer of frozen potato products - from waffle-cut fries to treats that look like a smiley-faced emoji
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Frozen Potato Giant McCain Commits to ‘Regenerative’ Agriculture

By Sami Grover   06/09/21  
When the United Kingdom-based supermarket chain Morrisons announced it was aiming to shift all U.K. farm suppliers to net-zero, it made "regenerative agriculture" a central plank of that effort. It was, at the time, a…
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An enormous missing contribution to global warming may have been right under our feet

By Chris Mooney   06/05/21  
Long before the era of fossil fuels, humans may have triggered a massive but mysterious “carbon bomb” lurking beneath the Earth’s surface, a new scientific study suggests. If the finding is correct, it would mean…
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US propels vision of global farm tech solutions to climate change

By Bill Tomson   05/26/21  
The U.S. doesn’t just want to employ modern farming technology and practices to combat climate change. It wants to work with governments and the private sector around the globe to collaborate on research through a…
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Agriculture emits a ‘forgotten greenhouse gas.’ Scientists are looking for solutions in the soil

By Ula Chrobak and The Conversation   05/26/21  
As nations and industries try to cut greenhouse gas emissions to tackle climate change, agricultural practices are in the spotlight. There’s good reason for that: Agriculture accounts for 16 to 27 percent of human-caused climate-warming…
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New USDA report details climate-smart agriculture efforts

05/24/21  
The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week published a 90-day progress report on climate-smart agriculture and forestry strategies. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says the report represents an important step in President Biden’s executive order on…
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Take Action: Ensure Regenerative Agriculture Incorporates Organic Standards in Order to Fight Climate Change

By Beyond Pesticides   05/24/21  
Agriculture is a major contributor to climate change. In a recent article in Science, Clark et al. show that even if fossil fuel emissions were eliminated immediately, emissions from the global food system alone would make…
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Carbon storage offers hope for climate, cash for farmers

By John Flesher   05/21/21  
ORIENT, Ohio (AP) — The rye and rapeseed that Rick Clifton cultivated in central Ohio were coming along nicely — until his tractor rumbled over the flat, fertile landscape, spraying it with herbicides. These crops…
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The central challenge for regenerative agriculture advocates: Not undermining the movement by ‘overselling’ its limited and targeted advantages

By Marc Brazeau   05/18/21  
The term regenerative farming first popped up in the mainstream media in a 1987 New York Times article about what eventually would be widely referred to as ‘organic farming’. But there wasn’t an organic certification…
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Regenerative agriculture: The movement dedicated to unseating intensive, ‘industrial farming’

By Marc Brazeau   05/17/21  
For the last century, each generation has produced an alternative approach to farming that is aimed at a central challenge of its time. Today regenerative agriculture has picked up that mantle with the promise to…
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Big Agriculture Is Leading to Ecological Collapse

By Matthew R. Sanderson   05/17/21  
Change is in the air. U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines announced climate change is “at the center of the country’s national security and foreign policy.” Business-as-usual is no longer a viable strategy as…
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How Does Soil Pull Carbon out of the Atmosphere?

By Logan Hailey   05/12/21  
Amidst concerns about catastrophic climate change, carbon sequestration is all the rage these days. Carbon sequestration is basically the process of pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it natural reservoirs such as soil.…
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Agroforestry: Growing money on trees?

By Parker Hughes   05/12/21  
Progress: On a global scale, humankind is facing an environmental crisis connected to the way we use and abuse the land. Modern agriculture's reliance on monocultures (one-crop production systems) threatens the fertility of our soil.…
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Meat production leads to thousands of air quality-related deaths annually

By Sarah Gibbens   05/11/21  
Air pollution remains a major cause of death in the United States, one usually associated with tailpipe exhaust and factory and power plant smokestacks. Now new research shows that 16,000 U.S. deaths are the result…
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Agriculture linked to one-fifth of U.S. air pollution deaths

By Chuck Abbott   05/11/21  
Air pollution is the largest environmental mortality risk in the United States, responsible for 100,000 premature deaths annually, and one-fifth of those deaths are linked to agriculture, said research published by the National Academy of…
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Air pollution from farms leads to 17,900 U.S. deaths per year, study finds

By Sarah Kaplan   05/10/21  
The smell of hog feces was overwhelming, Elsie Herring said. The breezes that wafted from the hog farm next to her mother’s Duplin County, N.C., home carried hazardous gases: methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide.
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Tackling climate challenge through food and agricultural innovation

By Ryan Hobert and Opinion Contributor   05/06/21  
Buried among the flurry of announcements made at the Leaders Summit on Climate was a new initiative to address a substantial driver of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: food systems. One-third of global emissions come from the production, distribution…
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Agriculture At Risk Due To Climate Change

By Chantal Vaca   05/04/21  
In 2020, the world saw a record of 30 storms in the Atlantic hurricane season, apocalyptic-like forest fires in California and Australia and a pandemic that stopped the world in its tracks. As climate change…
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