Tag Archives: carbon sequestration through regenerative farming practices

Midlands Voices: Voluntary programs are the key tools to promote Nebraska conservation

By Anne Hubbard, Jim Armitage, Richard Fruehling and Ron Schaefer,
The Nature Conservancy

We are writing in support of the 30-by-30 plan for conservation of American’s land and water, also referred to as “America the Beautiful.” The Board of Trustees for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is committed to advancing conservation practices on private lands; Nebraska is, of course, a private lands state, and to fulfill this mission, we rely on the leadership of ranchers and farmers.

Many of our staff members, trustees, families and friends work in agriculture, and as Nebraskans, none of us are far removed from the farm or the ranch. TNC proudly works alongside private landowners, landowner-led conservation associations, agribusinesses, and Tribal, state and federal partners to provide conservation tools to landowners through voluntary programs. It is this type of collaboration that ultimately leads to success. Read more here.

Dr. Anne Hubbard, board chair emeritus, and Dr. Jim Armitage, Dr. Richard Fruehling and Ron Schaefer wrote this essay on behalf of the executive committee of The Nature Conservancy’s Board of Trustees. The Nature Conservancy is a conservation organization and private landowner in Nebraska with more than 5,000 member-households.

Related Reading: Saving 30 By 2030, The Nature Conservancy 

Image Credit: The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska Facebook Photos

The Nature Conservancy In Nebraska

MORE ABOUT AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

America the Beautiful, U.S. Department of the Interior
As directed by President Biden’s Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, the Department of the Interior has partnered with the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce, National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, and the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality to develop initial recommendations on how to advance an inclusive and collaborative conservation vision. 

President Biden has issued a call to action that we work together to conserve, connect, and restore 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 for the sake of our economy, our health, and our well-being. 

To meet the moment, the Biden-Harris administration has launched “America the Beautiful,” a decade-long challenge to pursue a locally led and voluntary, nationwide effort to conserve, connect, and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife upon which we all depend. A recent report outlines the key principles that will guide our conservation efforts, including: 

America The Beautiful (PDF)

USDA’S CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM

 

 

 

 

 

USDA Announces New Initiative to Quantify Climate Benefits of Conservation Reserve Program
Proposals for CRP Climate Change Mitigation Assessment Initiative Due July 2, 2021.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has launched an initiative to quantify the climate benefits of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts. This multi-year effort will enable USDA to better target CRP toward climate outcomes and improve existing models and conservation planning tools while supporting USDA’s goal of putting American agriculture and forestry at the center of climate-smart solutions to address climate change. “CRP is a powerful tool for implementing voluntary, measurable conservation outcomes to mitigate the impacts of climate change,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux.

Links to More Information

In April, the USDA announced updates to CRP including higher payment rates, new incentives for environmental practices and a more targeted focus on the program’s role in climate change mitigation Download USDA’s “What’s New” fact sheet to learn more about program updates.

New USDA Publication: USDA Launches Resource Guide to Help America’s Rural Workforce Build Back Better

Congressional Bills

How carbon-smart farming is catalyzing the big bucks needed to transform the way America eats

Contributed by Carol J. Clouse, GreenBiz

Many scientists and other experts agree that regenerative practices — growing diverse crops rather than monocultures; planting cover crops (such as the alfalfa and grasses) on resting fields instead of leaving them bare; minimizing mechanical tillage of the soil; and incorporating livestock into the crop rotation — lead to environmental and health benefits. The soil becomes richer and healthier, runoff that pollutes water is reduced, biodiversity and habitat for the birds, bees and other wildlife increases, farm animals live better, and the food produced is more nutritious. Early research also indicates farmers using these techniques can reap long-term financial gains.

Still, it’s regenerative agriculture’s potential as a carbon sink that’s driving millions of corporate and investor dollars into soil-climate initiatives, large and modest. And while there’s plenty of room for skepticism when Big Ag gets into the sustainability business, this trend represents something of a game-changer, a level of investment in sustainable farming that never has happened beforeRead more here.

About the Author
C.J. Clouse is an independent environmental journalist who specializes in covering solutions to the climate, biodiversity and waste crises. Her work has appeared in Mongabay, The Guardian, HuffPost, Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, and Financial Advisor Magazine, among others. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

RegeNErate Nebraska

RegeNErate Nebraska is a network of farmers and ranchers, tribes, urban farmers, supporting businesses, organizations, food consumers, and communities who are committed to a shift away from extractive industrial food production in favor of an ethical and regenerative food system. Lying in the middle of the nation, Nebraska is the heart of our nation, and the culture and principles found here serve as a lifeblood for a well-functioning country. RegeNErate Nebraska’s mission is to redevelop and strengthen our communities from the soil up. This starts with building strong communities.

RegeNErate Nebraska Resource Guide

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

The Biden-Harris Plan To Build Back Better In Rural America, Joe Biden.Com

Saving our Planet Starts in the Soil

By Cat Kutz, Smithsonian Magazine

Peter Byck is a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University, in both the School of Sustainability and the Cronkite School of Journalism. He is the director, producer and writer of carbon nation. He is currently helping to lead a $6.3 million research project focused on Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing; collaborating with 20 scientists and 10 farmers, focused on soil health and soil carbon storage; microbial, bug and bird biodiversity; water cycling and much more. Byck has currently completed carbon cowboys, a feature-length documentary (in ten parts) focused on regenerative grazing: www.carboncowboys.org and is in production on a long-form documentary on the AMP grazing research project.

The trailer for carbon cowboys premiered during the 2020 Earth Optimism Digital Summit during which Byck also shared a bit more about the film as a speaker for a ‘Telling the Story’ session. Ahead of the premiere of carbon cowboys, Earth Optimism Communications lead Cat Kutz chatted with him to learn more about the regenerative farming the film highlights and how it can shift the way we think about food, climate and the future of farming. Continue reading here.

Links to Additional Information

Nebraska Resources

Nebraska Legislation
LB 243 to create a Healthy Soils Task Force, was passed by the Nebraska Legislature on April 11, 2019 by a vote of 43 to 0 and signed by Governor Ricketts on April 18th.

National / International Resources

Previously Posted Articles

Featured Books

Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal, by Ronnie Cummins, Chelsea Green Publishing

Grassroots Rising offers a blueprint for building a grassroots Regeneration Movement based on consumer activism, farmer innovation, political change, and regenerative finance—embodied most recently by the proposed Green New Deal in the US.

Using regenerative agriculture practices that restore our agricultural and grazing lands, we can sequester massive amounts of carbon in the soil. Coupled with an aggressive transition toward renewables, Cummins argues that we have the power to not only mitigate and slow down climate change, but actually reverse global warming.

Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism, Fast Company Press

In his twentieth book, John Elkington–dubbed the “Godfather of Sustainability”–explores new forms of capitalism fit for the twenty-first century. If Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s “Black Swans” are problems that take us exponentially toward breakdown, then “Green Swans” are solutions that take us exponentially toward breakthrough. The success–and survival–of humanity now depends on how we rein in the first and accelerate the second.

Green Swans draws on Elkington’s first-hand experience in some of the world’s best-known boardrooms and C-suites. Using case studies, real-world examples, and profiles on emergent technologies, Elkington shows how the weirdest “Ugly Ducklings” of today’s world may turn into tomorrow’s world-saving Green Swans. – Amazon

Missouri Ag And Climate Change: Farmers Scramble To Find Solutions Like Cover Crops, No-Till Methods

By Michele Skalicky, KSMU/Ozarks Public Radio

Missouri Farmers are trying to work around more frequent floods and drought, which scientists say are the result of climate change. The Missouri Department of Agriculture said it doesn’t currently have anyone in the department looking at the impact of climate change on the state’s top industry, so many farmers are trying to figure out solutions on their own. Read more here.

USDA Photo: No-till farming.

NEBRASKA IN THE NEWS HERE

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

DOE FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENT

Energy Department to Invest. More Than $5 Million in Tribal Energy Infrastructure Deployment ProjectsBetween 2010 and 2019, the DOE Office of Indian Energy invested nearly $85 million in more than 180 tribal energy projects implemented across the contiguous 48 states and Alaska. These projects, valued at over $180 million, are leveraged by over $95 million in recipient cost share. See the DOE’s Office of Indian Energy website for a map and summaries of these competitively funded projects.

Nebraska Energy Projects 

Source: Tribal Energy Projects Database

SOLAR POWER WORLD VIDEO, ARTICLES & RELATED NEWS RELEASE

Nebraska Cover Crop and Soil Health Conference set for Feb. 13

Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources News, UNL

There are many benefits to utilizing cover crops, such as improved soil health and reduced erosion. It’s the details of how and what to do that can present challenges. The Nebraska Cover Crop and Soil Health Conference will provide information to growers who are just getting started with cover crops and to those who are already making cover crops part of their operation.

The conference will take place on Thursday, Feb. 13 at the University of Nebraska Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead, Nebraska from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. Read the entire announcement here.

Learn more about the speakers and their experience with cover crops on the Cover Crops Conference website. There is no fee to attend, but preregistration is required by February 7,  4:30 pm.

Previously Posted 

Nebraska Resources

Nebraska Legislation
LB 243 to create a Healthy Soils Task Force, was passed by the Nebraska Legislature on April 11, 2019 by a vote of 43 to 0 and signed by Governor Ricketts on April 18th.

ADDITIONAL UPCOMING EVENT

Green Bellevue’s February Program: Regenerative Agriculture With Graham Christensen From GC Resolve, February 9, 2020 from 1:30 to 3 pm, Bellevue University’s Hitchcock Humanities Center, Room 202, 1040 Bruin Boulevard

Recommended Viewing: Graham and other Nebraskans were interviewed for this CBS News Documentary: A Climate Reckoning in the Heartland

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Startups aim to pay farmers to bury carbon pollution in soil, Yale Climate Connections
Roughly 20% of annual emissions could be captured by agricultural lands, according to one expert.

Morgan Stanley expects a surge of renewables, coal retirements

By Ethan Howland, American Public Power Association

Partly driven by falling renewable energy prices, at least 70,000 megawatts of coal-fired capacity could be shuttered this decade, on top of the 24,000 MW that is already set to retire, according to Morgan Stanley & Co. “We are at the start of a ‘second wave’ of renewables deployment and coal plant retirements, led by utilities that have historically not been leaders in decarbonization,” analysts with the investment firm said in a report released in December. Replacing coal with renewables could save consumers $3 billion to $8 billion a year, according to the report, The Second Wave of Clean Energy. It also represents a renewable energy investment opportunity of $93 billion to $184 billion, the analysts said. Read more here. 

IOWA CITY SCHOOLS’ CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

CORPORATE CLEAN ENERGY PROCUREMENT

Clean Energy Deal Tracker: Don’t say Amazon isn’t doing anything — international PPAs on the rise, GreenBiz. Here are five trends and notable developments based on last quarter’s clean energy procurement deals. 

REGENERATIVE FARMING / REGENERATIVE ENERGY

NEW OPPORTUNITY ZONES TOOL

U.S. Economic Development Administration And Indiana University Launch New USA Opportunity Zones Tool, EDA January 2020 Newsletter

On January 14, EDA and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business announced the launch of the USA Opportunity Zones tool. This new web-based tool will help local economic and community developers, investors, the more than 390 EDA-designated Economic Development Districts (EDDs), and others across the nation better target private investment to Opportunity ZonesAs economic development practitioners build their five-year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS), incorporating Opportunity Zones is a new and promising tool for further enhancing economic growth.

USDA announces awards to put conservation innovation to work

Ag Daily Reporters

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is awarding more than $24 million in grants designed to help partners implement and evaluate innovative approaches that have demonstrated conservation benefits on farmland. The funding is provided through On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials), a new component of the Conservation Innovation Grants first authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill. Read more here.

2019 On-Farm Trials Award Recipients

Previously Posted