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

5 Ways the Government Can Tackle Food Waste in America

By Katherine Martinko   04/12/21  
Up to 40% of food is wasted in America. Now, some organizations have given Congress an action plan.  Sometimes it fails to get harvested or it spoils during transport; other times it does not get…
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Climate change-driven ‘Midwest water hose’ caused massive 2019 flooding in Iowa, elsewhere, UI researchers find

By Donnelle Eller   03/02/21  
Flooding that burst through levees, swamped farms and inundated homes and businesses in cities and towns across Iowa, Nebraska and other Midwestern states two years ago is part of a climate change-driven weather phenomenon that…
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Scott, Thompson Agree, Disagree on Climate Change

03/02/21  
Committee Chair David Scott, of Georgia, says changes in weather patterns bring serious risks to production agriculture, forest resources and the overall economy. He says, “These risks cannot be understated.
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Factory Farms: New EPA Emissions Data Should Guide Biden on Agriculture and Climate

By Ben Lilliston   03/01/21  
The EPA’s inventory tracks GHGs from all sectors in the U.S. from 1990 to 2019, and conforms to reporting guidelines set by the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Setting emissions reduction goals and…
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3 Transformative Technologies That Will Revolutionize The Planet

02/12/21  
AGRICULTURE’S IMPACT ON THE PLANET is massive and relentless. Roughly 40 percent of the Earth’s suitable land surface is used for cropland and grazing. The number of domestic animals far outweighs the remaining wild populations.…
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A “forever” drought takes shape in the West

By Jennifer A. Kingson   01/14/21  
The Southwest U.S. is mired in an ever-worsening drought, one that has left deer starving in Hawaii, turned parts of the Rio Grande into a wading pool, and set a record in Colorado for the most days of "exceptional drought."
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Using solar energy and agriculture to limit climate change, assist rural communities

By Sean Nealon   01/05/21  
Co-developing land for both solar photovoltaic power and agriculture could provide 20% of total electricity generation in the United States with an investment of less than 1% of the annual U.S. budget, a new paper…
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Growing citrus in the Midlands with Climate Change

By Alex Calamia   10/13/20  
Citrus were once a fruit that didn't have a chance in the Midlands of South Carolina, but many gardeners are having luck in recent years. Temperatures are trending warmer across the Midlands, and across the…
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The Soil Revolution That Could Save Farming And The Climate

By Alexander C. Kaufman   09/25/20  
Joe Biden and other Democrats are backing regenerative farming, which pulls carbon from the atmosphere and restores nutrients to soil. But is it ready for prime time?
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Watch: Climate change threatens Nebraska agriculture

By Todd Henrichs   09/25/20  
For this in-depth project examining the impact of climate change on Nebraska, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications opened the rigorous application process to all students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In the end,…
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Sheep, ag and sun: Agrivoltaics propel significant reductions in solar maintenance costs

By Lynn Freehill-Maye   08/04/20  
As the U.S. solar industry expands, arrays are spreading across more land — and the cost of keeping the sun on those panels through vegetation management is rising. A one-shot solution to both the land-use…
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As climate change alters growing seasons, scientists dig into a novel approach to boosting crop resilience

By Allison Gacad   06/17/20  
Epigenetic modification of plants shows promise for enhancing food security — but we still have a lot to learn....
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CCL applauds Senators for bipartisan ag, climate bill

06/04/20  
CCL applauds Sens. Braun, Stabenow, Graham & Whitehouse for agriculture, climate bill WASHINGTON, D.C., June 4, 2020 — Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)…
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Growing Nitrogen Footprint Threatens Our Air, Water and Climate

By Carla Cantor   03/05/20  
Industrial farming in the temperate climates has been seen as the main cause of nitrogen pollution, but tropical agriculture emissions are catching up. ...
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Is Trump’s USDA Ready to Address Climate Change?

By Georgina Gustin   02/14/20  
A new 5-year plan addresses weather disasters that have battered American farms and mentions climate change. Critics are dubious.
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Farmers and funders get behind push to reinvent agriculture in an era of climate change

By Diana Hembree   02/03/20  
The Regenerative Agriculture Foundation, which aims to change how farmers and ranchers work their land, is at the forefront of one of the hottest movements in...
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The Key to the Environmental Crisis is Beneath Our Feet

By Ellen Brown   01/28/20  
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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Farmers’ experience of climate change doesn’t alter politics, study says

By Bryce Oates   11/23/19  
Farmers see climate change as a business challenge, not a political cause that requires public action, according to a qualitative study in the Midwest. Farmers understand that the climate is changing but don’t favor collective…
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As Water Sources Dry Up, Arizona Farmers Feel the Heat of Climate Change

By Meg Wilcox   10/06/19  
Farms in central Arizona will soon lose access to Colorado River water, impacting farmers, cities, and Native communities.
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With $100, You Too Can Invest in Regenerative Agriculture

By Lisa Held   10/02/19  
Fisheye Farms got started in Detroit’s West Village neighborhood in 2015 with just 1,200 square feet of raised bed space. The farmers discovered quickly that the city’s resurgent restaurant scene meant there was plenty of demand…
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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...
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With regenerative agriculture booming, the question of pesticide use looms large

By Gosia Wozniacka   09/05/19  
Regenerative practitioners say that healthy soil eventually leads to reducing synthetic chemicals. But some advocates say those chemicals have damaging effects and should be addressed....
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Michael Mann: ‘Agriculture needs systemic change’

08/10/19  
Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University Michael Mann speaks to Christiane Amanpour about the IPCC latest "Climate Change and Land" report....
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Innovation Rush to Help Farmers Rich and Poor, to Beat Climate Change

By Laurie Goering   07/30/19  
Crop insurance works too well for farmers who farm without regard for long-term soil health, and not well enough for the few who do. A new task force wants to change that.
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If Crop Insurance Rewarded Conservation Practices, Would More Farmers Go No-Till?

By Jessica McKenzie   07/30/19  
Crop insurance works too well for farmers who farm without regard for long-term soil health, and not well enough for the few who do. A new task force wants to change that.
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Tim Ryan on Food and Agriculture

By Maggie Astor   07/30/19  
Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio has made agriculture and food policy a centerpiece of his presidential campaign.
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Meet the farmers reclaiming Puerto Rico’s agricultural history

By Carly Graf   07/05/19  
Residents in a rural Puerto Rican community are reviving a historic botanical garden to serve as an example of local and sustainable farming....
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Agriculture Department buries studies showing dangers of climate change

By Helena Bottemiller Evich   06/23/19  
The Trump administration has stopped promoting government-funded research into how higher temperatures can damage crops and pose health risks.
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Because of historic rains, less than half the normal amount of corn has been planted in Illinois.

By Tony Briscoe   06/08/19  
Following an unseasonably wet spring, some farm fields that would normally be filled with burgeoning corn stalks and soybean plants are holding so much water they could pass for ponds.
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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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We Need to Completely Change Agriculture to Adapt to Climate Change

By Caroline Haskins   10/26/18  
According to a new study, we’re growing too many grains, fats, and sugars and not enough fruits, vegetables, and protein.
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Rising temperatures are causing soil to breathe out more carbon dioxide into the air

By Marlene Cimons   08/13/18  
Nature is breathing. Trees inhale carbon dioxide and store that carbon in their leaves and branches. After they die, microbes in the soil gobble up their carbon-rich leftovers and exhale carbon dioxide back into the…
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It takes how much water to grow an almond?!

By Alex Park and Julia Lurie   02/24/18  
California, supplier of nearly half of all U.S. fruits, veggies, and nuts, is on track to experience the driest year in the past half millennium. Farms use about 80 percent of the state’s “developed water,”…
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Utah Rancher and The Nature Conservancy Working to Protect Grasslands

By Kathy Voth   05/12/14  
Ranchers and The Nature Conservancy working together? It sounds like a case of odd bedfellows. But in the decades she’s been running the Dugout Ranch, Heidi Redd has always done what was best for her…
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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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Investment in Regenerative Agriculture Connects the Dots Between Soil and Plate

By Nancy Matsumoto   09/17/19  
The public and private sectors are rapidly picking up efforts to ramp up carbon farming.  
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Bonterra Digs In, Reduces Carbon with Regenerative Farming

By Laurel Sheppard   08/15/19  
One company embracing regenerative farming is California’s Bonterra Organic Vineyards, which recently concluded that this practice stores more carbon in the soil than conventional farming methods.
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Shifting Seasons

07/15/19  
The growing seasons are shifting. Spring is arriving earlier, winters are shorter, and the number of freezing days is declining. These changes affect the timing of many life cycle events, such as when flowers bloom…
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Managed Grazing: Mob Grazing on Brown Ranch North Dakota

07/15/19  
Grazing animals create extraordinary environments—witness the Serengeti plains and tall grass prairies of the United States. Where original grasslands are still intact, they are abundant lands with carbon-rich soils. They benefit from the activity of…
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Silvopasture: Valley farmers embrace an ancient form of regenerative farming to combat climate change

By Rema Boscov   06/13/19  
It doesn’t look like it could save the planet — long grass dotted with 4-foot high chestnut trees, inch-thick trunks with a few broad leaves on short, thin branches, surrounded by plastic mesh tubes to…
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Indigo Ag wants to use its tech to fight climate change by reducing carbon dioxide in atmosphere

By Desiree Stennett   06/12/19  
Agriculture technology company Indigo Ag Announced an ambitious plan Wednesday to drastically reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere over the next several decades. The high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere…
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Launch of the UN’s Decade of Family Farming to unleash family farmers’ full potential

05/29/19  
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today launched the United Nations' Decade of Family Farming and a Global Action Plan to boost support for family farmers, particularly…
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For the Midwest, Epic Flooding Is the Face of Climate Change

By Megan Molteni   05/24/19  
Fierce storms lashed across the central US this week, unleashing hundreds of powerful tornadoes that carved a path of destruction through parts of Missouri and Oklahoma Wednesday night, and left at least three dead. While…
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How Carbon Farming Can Help Stop Climate Change In Its Tracks: New agricultural methods offer hope of restoring ecological balance

By Wilber Wood   05/06/19  
Ninety people are gathered along a trench—maybe 20 feet long, five feet deep, and three feet wide—in the Montana prairie. It’s an overcast spring day, with a cool breeze stirring the grass. Children clamber around…
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Earth Week: Agriculture & Livestock

04/26/19  
New York Times climate desk reporter Kendra Pierre-Louis discusses the relationship between climate change and the agriculture industry. Then, Alejandra Borunda, former climate scientist, now science writer, talks about her "climate diet" experiment, which she wrote about for Bon Appetit's Healthyish website.
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What’s Biochar? How to Stabilize Carbon In Your Soil?

By Kai Hoffman-Krull   04/12/19  
The question of growing food in changing climate is one we all need to be asking. We all eat. Predictions illustrate that climate change could cause irrigated wheat yields in developing countries to drop by…
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Report Outlining Growing Climate Change Related Threats to the Great Lakes

By Diana Yates   03/22/19  
A team of Midwestern climate scientists has released a new report with grim predictions about the impact of climate change on the Great Lakes region. The report foresees a growing trend of wetter winters and…
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Climate Change Is Cutting Into the Global Fish Catch, and It’s on Pace to Get Worse

By Phil McKenna   03/01/19  
Warming ocean waters have already taken a toll on the world's fisheries, and the impact will worsen if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace, according to a pair of studies published this week.
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California’s ‘dry farmers’ grow crops without irrigation

By Priyanka Runwal   02/24/19  
Jim Leap fondly recalls the first Early Girl tomatoes he grew at UC Santa Cruz’s farm in 1990. Sweet and bursting with flavor, they were raised without a single drop of irrigated water. Nearly three…
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