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

Farmers get billions in government aid. Some of that money could also fight climate change

By Elizabeth Weise 11/09/23
Over the next five years, millions of dollars could be funneled into efforts to help farmers rotate their crops, preserve their soil, improve how their animals are fed and, along the way, significantly reduce the…
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The 20 Farming Families Who Use More Water From the Colorado River Than Some Western States

By Nat Lash and Janet Wilson 11/09/23
Tens of millions of people — and millions of acres of farmland — rely on the Colorado River’s water. But as its supply shrinks, these farmers get more water from the river than entire states.…
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Later frosts could make new crops possible in Alaska. But climate change brings challenges, too.

By Anna Canny 10/25/23
In October, fall gives way to winter for much of Alaska. But each year, the first frost is arriving later and later. That could be a boon for Alaska farmers.
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A bad apple season has some U.S. fruit growers planning for life in a warmer world

By Mara Hoplamazian 10/20/23
The alarm takes the temperature out in their 30-acre orchard and blares loudly if it dips too low. That Thursday night in Concord, New Hampshire, it was about 35 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature kept getting…
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Warming Could Make Northern Wilderness Ripe for Farming, Study Finds

10/20/23
The expansion of farmland is the main cause of terrestrial biodiversity loss globally. And climate climate could exacerbate those losses, according to a new study.
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How Crop Insurance Prevents Some Farmers From Adapting to Climate Change

By Grey Moran 09/20/23
Chris Grotegut has earned a reputation in the High Plains of Texas for farming practices that have helped replenish the region’s depleted aquifer. Just over a decade ago, he began converting his 11,000-acre farm to…
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The debate over crop insurance, as climate change drives the price up

By Frank Morris 09/14/23
Climate change is making insuring crops more risky, but the federally subsidized crop insurance program's payouts are up 500%. With a new Farm Bill coming, critics want to rethink the program.
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Creating a heat standard for vulnerable farmworkers could take years

By Eva Tesfaye 09/06/23
Farmworkers are particularly vulnerable to the extreme heat that's affected so many areas of the country including the Midwest. The push for a federal heatprotection policy is slow.
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Big Farms and Flawless Fries Are Gulping Water in the Land of 10,000 Lakes

By Dionne Searcey and Mira Rojanasakul 09/03/23
THE DROUGHT THAT GRIPPED MINNESOTA in the summer of 2021 was one of the worst on record. Day after day a blazing sun shriveled leaves, dried up waterfalls and turned ponds to puddles.
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Survival of Wild Rice Threatened by Climate Change, Increased Rainfall in Northern Minnesota

By Andrew Hazzard, Sahan Journal 08/14/23
Todd Moilanen paddles gently through wild rice beds on Ogechie Lake, trying not to disturb a loon sleeping on its back on a nest of reeds a few feet away.
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Bone dry on the range: Texas cattle ranchers battle drought, extreme heat

By Evan Garcia 08/10/23
The brown and black cattle of Texas, beloved symbols of the Lone Star state, walk through desiccated grass and stand in shrunken watering holes while their ranchers struggle to get them enough food.
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Hottest July on Record Kills Hundreds of Cows

By Angely Mercado 08/08/23
Alarming heat and humidity killed hundreds of cows in Iowa last month. These losses have further decreased the size of the overall U.S. cattle herd, which has shrunk to a more than 50-year low. The…
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KEY RESOURCES

Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) participation

05/03/23
Since its inception in the 1930s, the Federal Crop Insurance Program evolved into a key Federal support program for agriculture in the United States. The USDA, Risk Management Agency (RMA) oversees FCIP and offers agricultural…

Inflation Reduction Act Funding for Rural Development

04/06/23
In August, Congress passed the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic legislative package known as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to reduce energy costs for families and create thousands of good-paying jobs for people across rural America. IRA…

 Regenerative Farmers of America

12/09/22
Find a regenerative farm near you to support or learn.

Where Rice Grows

12/05/22
Each year, American rice farmers sustainably grow roughly 20 billion pounds of rice in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. Half of the rice crop is consumed in the United States, accounting for 80…

Regenerative Agriculture 101: Everything You Need to Know

11/07/22
Quick Key Facts In regenerative agriculture, the physical, biological and chemical integrity of the soil is preserved through minimal disturbance. Indigenous cultures maintain and have maintained a regenerative relationship with their natural environments, including the…

The Highest Level of Integrity for Regenerative Agriculture

09/20/22
Land to Market is working with brands around the world to heal the planet by regenerating its grasslands. We are giving a voice to the land & are the world’s first verified regenerative sourcing solution…

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.

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.

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…

MORE NEWS

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

By Rosa Tuiran   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…
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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.
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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.
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Potentially deadly valley fever is hitting California farmworkers hard, worrying researchers

By Twilight Greenaway   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.
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Farmers adapting for ‘weather variability’ not climate change

By Kate Ravilious   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…
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Can We Grow Enough Seaweed to Help Cows Fight Climate Change?

By Gosia Wozniacka   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.
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The Next Regeneration

By Greta Moran   04/30/19  
New York wants to fight climate change through good farming. Here's the dirt.
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Sodden Midwest farmers can blame warm Pacific for juicing storms

By Brian K Sullivan   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…
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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…
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Climate Change Is Already Reshaping How We Farm

By Audrea Lim   03/27/19  
After years of struggling through summer heat and wildfire smoke, farmers in Washington are building their own, cooperatively run, future.
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The ancient climate solution you’ve probably never heard of

By Amanda Brown   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…
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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…
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Farmworkers Are on the Frontlines of Climate Change. Can New Laws Protect Them?

By Nano Riley   02/27/19  
As temperatures heat up, farmworkers face mounting health risks. Some advocates are creating and expanding laws to protect them.
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Agrivoltaics: Solar Panels on Farms Could Be a Win-Win

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

By Lela Nargi   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.
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Sparing vs Sharing: The Great Debate Over How to Protect Nature

By Fred Pearce   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?
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Americans Have Planted So Much Corn That It’s Changing the Weather

By Eric J. Wallace   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.
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Grasslands More Reliable Carbon Sink Than Trees

By Kat Kerlin   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…
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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.
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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…
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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…
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‘It’s a groundswell’: the farmers fighting to save the Earth’s soil

By Matthew Taylor   04/24/19  
Farmers across the world are ditching their ploughs to protect ecosystems – and it’s working
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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   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.
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A Wet Year Causes Farm Woes Far Beyond the Floodplains

By John Schwartz   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…
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Fine Fleece at Stone Steps Farm

By Amanda Fisk   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…
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‘We Can’t Waste a Drop.’ India Is Running Out of Water

By Bill Spindle   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.
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The Future of food: Why farming is moving indoors

By Russel Hotten   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.
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‘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…
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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.
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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,…
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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…
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What the Climate Crisis Means for Land Rights

By Nathan Lobel   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…
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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…
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Trading Water for cash along the Colorado River

By Luke Mcgrath   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…
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How biomass helps farmers make the most of ‘waste wood’

By MNN Staff   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…
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Acting now to protect land and our farmers

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

By Jill Barth   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…
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Farmers Don’t Need to Read the Science. We Are Living It.

By Alan Sano   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…
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How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

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

By Patricia Cohen   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.
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From Apples to Popcorn, Climate Change Is Altering The Foods America Grows

By Kim Severson   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.
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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…
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How to fight climate change in agriculture while protecting jobs

By Laxmi Pant   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.
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To share or not to share?

By Paola Rosa-Aquino   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…
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5 Major Crops In The Crosshairs Of Climate Change

By Dan Charles   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.
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