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

Rising temperatures may safeguard crop nutrition as climate changes

By Carl R. Woese   01/22/19  
Recent research has shown that rising carbon dioxide levels will likely boost yields, but at the cost of nutrition. A new study suggests that this is an incomplete picture of the complex environmental interactions that…
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Silvopasture Can Mitigate Climate Change. Will U.S. Farmers Take it Seriously?

By Laila Nargi   01/07/19  
Steve Gabriel curls back a bit of flimsy net fencing and shakes a plastic bucket of alfalfa pellets. Immediately, a sweet-faced, short-fleeced mob of some 50 Katahdin sheep pull away from a line of young…
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Agroforestry should play a bigger role in tackling climate change

By Cathy Watson   12/13/17  
Never has it been so pressing to address climate change. So let’s hurry to embrace a proven part of the solution. The radical (but not new) concept of agroforestry – be it integrating trees to…
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