Tag Archives: healthy soil and carbon sequestration

Carbon market farming bill introduced in Congress

By David Murry, High Plains Journal

A bill that, if passed, would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture authority to lay the groundwork and set standards for a “carbon farming” market was introduced in Congress April 20. The U.S. Senate Ag Committee planned to take up the Growing Climate Solutions Act April 22 during a committee hearing to coincide with Earth Day.

The bill was originally introduced last June but has since been refined and reworked after input from Republicans. Its title says its purpose is “to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a program to reduce barriers to entry for farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners in certain private markets, and for other purposes.” Read more here.

Photo Credit: USDA

Additional Recommended Reading

Featured USDA Resource

Northern Plains Climate Hub
The Northern Plains Climate Hub serves Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The Hub delivers science-based knowledge, practical information, management & conservation strategies, and decision tools to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners with the goal of helping them adapt to weather variability and changing climatic conditions.

More Nebraska Resources

Additional National Legislation: The Agriculture Resilience Act 

Agriculture Resilience Act a Thoughtful, Nuanced Approach to Climate Action, National Farmers Union News Release

“While the window is still open, we must take every possible opportunity to adapt to our changing climate and limit its impact. One key piece of the puzzle is the agriculture sector, which can not only work to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions, but it can also offset other sectors’ emissions by sequestering carbon in the soil – a fact that the Agriculture Resilience Act recognizes and seeks to put into action. This thoughtful and nuanced bill would strategically further climate initiatives across USDA programs in an effort to provide farmers with the tools, resources, and assistance they need to implement climate-smart practices.” – NFU President Rob Larew

National Farmers Union
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.

Nebraska Farmers Union
Founded in 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the quality of life and economic well-being of family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities. As Nebraska’s second largest family farm and ranch ag organization with over 4,000 family farm and ranch families as members, Nebraska Farmers Union is dedicated to the farm income issues which matter most to rural families. With active members across the state, Farmers Union is one of Nebraska’s oldest and strongest grassroots organizations.

AFBF President Zippy Duvall Testimony for House Agriculture Committee

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, my name is Zippy Duvall. I am a third-generation farmer and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and I am pleased to offer this testimony, on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation and Farm Bureau members across this country.  America’s farmers and ranchers play a leading role in promoting soil health, conserving water, enhancing wildlife, efficiently using nutrients, and caring for their animals. For decades they have embraced innovation thanks to investments in agricultural research and adopted climate-smart practices to improve productivity, enhance sustainability, and provide clean and renewable energy. Continue reading here. 

Additional Recommended Reading

Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance Expands Membership, Drills Down on Policy Recommendations, National Farmers Union News Release

WASHINGTON – The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) today announced expanding membership and new policy working groups focused on developing a set of more specific policy proposals that drill down on the 40+ recommendations released by FACA in November 2020.

FACA’s eight founding members — American Farm Bureau Federation (co-chair), Environmental Defense Fund (co-chair), FMI – The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (co-chair), National Farmers Union (co-chair) and The Nature Conservancy — welcomed 14 new groups to the Steering Committee.

FACA’s original 40+ recommendations cover six areas of focus: soil health, livestock and dairy, forests and wood products, energy, research, and food loss and waste. They are outlined in a 50-page report [PDF] and summarized in a one-page hand-out [PDF].

Photo Credit: Thomas Lin on Pexels / CC0

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.

Soil: The Secret Weapon in the Fight Against Climate Change

By Natural Resources Defense Council, EcoWatch

Agriculture is on the front lines of climate change. Whether it’s the a seven-year drought drying up fields in California, the devastating Midwest flooding in 2019, or hurricane after hurricane hitting the Eastern Shore, agriculture and rural communities are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Scientists expect climate change to make these extreme weather events both more frequent and more intense in coming years.

Agriculture is also an important — in fact a necessary — partner in fighting climate change. The science is clear: We cannot stay beneath the most dangerous climate thresholds without sequestering a significant amount of carbon in our soils. Here are just a few of the ways the Natural Resources Defense Council works to encourage climate-friendly farming: Read more here. 

Pexels Photo

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

U.S. farm leaders tout role at COP25 meeting, The Fence Post

U.S. farm leaders under the banner of the North America Climate Smart Agricultural Alliance (NACSAA) are making a series of presentations this week at the Madrid meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), formally known as the Conference of the Parties or COP25, a gathering to establish rules to implement the Paris climate agreement.

A common message the contingent is delivering in Madrid is a call for support of the guiding principles that were developed to ensure that farmers remain at the center of all discussions and decision-making related to agricultural solutions. They also assert that findings must be science-based. 

More About NACSAA
The North America Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (NACSAA) is a farmer-led platform for inspiring, educating, and equipping agricultural partners to innovate effective local adaptations that sustain productivity, enhance climate resilience, and contribute to the local and global goals for sustainable development. NACSAA reflects and embraces all scales of agriculture in Canada, Mexico and the United States, ranging from small landholders to midsize and large-scale producers.

NACSAA encourages climate smart agriculture (CSA) strategies to enhance the adaptive capacity of North American agriculture to changing climate conditions and works to achieve this goal through three complementary strategies: 1) sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and livelihoods (i.e. sustainable intensification); 2) enhancing adaptive capacity and improving resilience; and 3) delivering ecosystem services, sequestering carbon, and reducing and/or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions. 

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

Small town citizens make it happen in Rural Communities of the Year

By Janelle Atyeo, Midwest Messenger Regional Editor

Mother Nature tested Nebraska this year with massive floods and crippling blizzards, but as always, the people pulled together and made it through. In trying times like these, the power of community shines through.

This year, the Midwest Messenger has selected three rural towns where residents work together every day toward the betterment of their community. The 2019 Midwest Messenger Rural Communities of the Year are Stuart in northern Nebraska, and the Platte River communities of Osceola and Aurora further south. Continue reading here.

Written by Jon Burleson, Midwest Messenger Reporter

Stuart: Making it work – together
The village has plans to acquire land and develop sub-divisions north of town, get smart electric meters for dwellings, upgrading the town’s electric grid and looking at obtaining an independent solar array network (possibly with a fuel-cell link) as a backup against outages.

Osceola: A town that gets things done
“The city, businesses, organizations and residents work together to achieve a balance of positive, social, economic and environmental outcomes,” Mayor Graff said. “It is for these reasons that Osceola is a wonderful place to live and raise a family.”

Aurora: Building on achievement
The success story that is Aurora, Nebraska, was a gradual process. It starts with the original settlers, who laid the groundwork and then were followed by a progression of resilient people that incrementally improved upon existing ideas. “We all stand upon someone else’s shoulders,” Aurora Mayor Marlin Seeman said. “We have been blessed with dynamic and aggressive visionaries.”

Additional Article Written by Jon Burleson
Soil task force sets foundation for future operations

Related Article & Resources Previously Posted
Farm practices could be a way to reduce impact of heavy rains, UNL researcher says, by Roseann Moring, Omaha World-Herald. This post includes additional links to healthy soil resources.