Tag Archives: regenerative farming

Vilsack: America’s voluntary approach to agriculture is better than Europe’s mandates

By Jared Strong, Iowa Capital Dispatch

BOONE, Iowa — The more than $1 billion the federal government is devoting to voluntary efforts to reduce agriculture’s adverse effects on the environment is a better long-term strategy than mandating new rules for farmers, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.

While state and federal officials in the United States have tended to avoid implementing rules that might force farmers to radically change their long-held practices, the European Union has specific requirements about crop rotations, permanent pastures and the use of buffer strips and other conservation practices that improve soil quality. Continue reading here.

Also written by Jared Strong: USDA plans ‘historic’ funding to help struggling farmers and develop new ag leaders, Iowa Capital Dispatch

FROM THE NEBRASKA EXAMINER 

MORE ON HIGH-SPEED-INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE 

Treasury Announces Five Additional Capital Projects Fund Awards to Increase Access to Affordable, High-Speed Internet

Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Arkansas are approved to receive approximately $408 million under the American Rescue Plan and will connect more than 90,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet

INFLATION REDUCTION ACT BENEFITS EVERYONE

Republicans voted ‘no’ on the climate bill. Their states will get billions of dollars from it anyway, by Ella Nilsen, CNN

More than $370 billion of the law will go to tax credits for
 clean electricity, vehicles and energy efficient appliances. And that money will trickle down to Democrat- and Republican-controlled states alike, said Bob Keefe, executive director of nonpartisan clean energy group E2. “It’s going to be harder for red states to say clean energy jobs are bogus and that it’s something for California when it’s something that’s happening in their backyards,” Keefe told CNN.

The law goes far beyond financing for solar and wind energy. There’s also money for hydrogen fuel and funds to incentivize power plants to capture their planet-warming emissions before they hit the air. It also contains billions of dollars to fund a new program that will crack down on the fossil fuel industry’s methane emissions — a powerful greenhouse gas that scientists say must be controlled.

FROM FARM PROGRESS

Project looks to measure carbon absorption, emissions daily: Study examines how grazing livestock influences carbon, water and biodiversity.

Climate change has brought much scrutiny on the beef industry. But is it justified? Scientists have been studying grazing management and its impact on ecological function, and “there is evidence to suggest, if it’s well managed, cattle can be very edifying to land and improve its function versus deteriorating or extracting,” says Jason Rowntree, the C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture in the Michigan State University Department of Animal Science. “But the science is pretty isolated in terms of geography.”

Iowa experiment tests potential to pair solar with carbon sequestration

By Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

As thousands of acres of Iowa farmland are eyed as possible sites for solar farms, a research project is getting underway to explore a new crop that could co-exist with this burgeoning source of power: carbon sequestration. The state’s economic development office last month awarded $297,000 to an environmental consultant to create a business model “for monetizing carbon capture on solar energy farms.” Continue reading here.

Iowa Carbon Sequestration Task Force

Related Reading & EPA Resources
Perry joins Alliant Energy in brownfield solar power project, The Perry News
RE-Powering America’s Land, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Resources

Photo Credit: Werner Slocum / NREL

ALSO IN THE NEWS

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Nearly 750 U.S. Solar Companies Unite for Long-Term Federal Policy Certainty
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly 750 companies from across the U.S. solar supply chain sent a letter to Congress today urging action on policies that drive clean energy deployment and help us tackle the climate crisis.

The letter is part of a national campaign led by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in support of transformative solar and clean energy policies in upcoming federal infrastructure legislation. The solar industry is calling for a long-term extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) along with a direct pay provision, which will ease project financing challenges and shield the industry from pandemic-related disruptions. For more information about the solar industry’s infrastructure priorities, visit www.seia.org/infrastructure.

NEW CERES REPORT

new report released by the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets reveals that the physical impacts of climate change could amount to more than a $250 billion risk annually for the largest U.S. banks.

The Ceres Accelerator report, Financing a Net Zero Economy: The Consequences of Physical Climate Risk for Banks highlights these risks and provides valuable insights to help banks realize and mitigate the systemic financial implications of physical risk. The report sets out a practical roadmap to help banks conduct risk assessments and incorporate climate risks into their day-to-day decision-making. It includes detailed recommendations across four broad categories to guide the banking industry in fully measuring, analyzing, and acting against threats posed by the physical risks of climate change.

join Ceres for a webinar on Tuesday, September 14th to discuss the report findings and recommendations with a former Senior Deputy Comptroller of the Currency and the Head of Financial Risk at Regions Bank.

Related Post: An Urgent Call To High-Emitting Sectors: It’s Time For Climate Action
Forbes
article contributed by Mindy Lubber, CEO & President of Ceres, with additional resources provided by Nebraskans for Solar.

Commentary: Transmission investment can create thousands of jobs. The time is now

Contributed by Brian Gemmell, Energy News Network

As the nation strives to bring about an economic recovery following the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, a targeted investment in our electricity transmission system presents an opportunity to advance our nation’s fight against climate change, and concurrently create hundreds of thousands of green jobs.

In an announcement in April, President Joe Biden established an ambitious goal to reduce emissions from the country’s electricity supply by 2035. To achieve that goal, there must be investments to update and optimize the power grid. Continue reading here.

Brian Gemmell is chief clean energy development officer at National Grid. He is a member of the WIRES Board of Directors.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & VIEWING

COOL CONGREGATIONS – A NATIONAL IP&L PROGRAM

Across the country, people of faith are making changes in their homes and places of worship to prevent global warming through Interfaith Power & Light’s Cool Congregations program. The stewardship program helps congregations reduce the carbon footprint of their facilities and engages their members in reducing their carbon footprint at home.  Click here to learn more about the program.

Photo: St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Dover, Massachusetts: Gold Certified Cool Congregation, 50% carbon reduction

NEW FARM JOURNAL FOUNDATION REPORT

Incentives Are Needed to Help Farmers Address Climate Issues, Report Says, Climate Ag
Farmers are among the most-qualified people to help address greenhouse gases (GHGs) and related climate issues, according to a new report commissioned by the Farm Journal Foundation. “The science tells us we have to rapidly scale up regenerative agriculture and climate-smart practices, like cover crops,” said Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow on Thursday, during a webinar announcing the findings. “(But) in order to engage farmers and ranchers in meaningful ways, we need proposals that pair sustainability with profitability.”

TREEHUGGER RESOURCES

What Happens if You Have Solar and the Power Goes Out?,  by Russell McLendonTreehugger’s Sustainability for Series

In This Article

See more Treehugger resources at the end of the article.

A Proclamation on Earth Day, 2021

By President Joseph R. Biden, The White House

On April 22, 1970, millions of Americans rallied together to protect the right of all of us to live free from environmental hazard and harm.  On that first Earth Day, they gathered all across America — on college campuses, in public parks, and State capitals — galvanized by a vision of a healthier, more prosperous Nation where all people could thrive.  Their untiring spirit sparked a national movement for environmental protection that endures today in the bedrock laws that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and treasured wild places and wildlife.

Earth Day was primarily conceived and brought to life by a dedicated public servant:  the late Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin.  Senator Nelson and his wife, Carrie Lee -– who herself passed away just last month –- were both dear friends who changed my life; it was Senator Nelson who helped persuade me to remain in the Senate after losing my first wife and daughter in a car accident in 1972.  Senator Nelson changed the world, too, by building a legacy of environmental protection through Earth Day and all of the progress that has come in its wake –- not because it was popular, but because it was the right thing to do for our children and grandchildren.

Over half a century later, that legacy lives on in the chorus of courageous young people across the world who are rising up to demand action on climate change.

Read the entire proclamation here.

Additional White House Briefing Room Releases & Statements

Survey Finds Majority of Voters Support Initiatives to Fight Climate Change

 By John Schwartz, New York Times

A survey carried out after the November election found that 66 percent of respondents said that developing sources of clean energy should be a high or very high priority.

Of those polled, 83 percent said they supported creating a jobs program that would hire unemployed coal workers, shut down old coal mines safely, and restore the natural landscape. The same percentage said they supported a jobs program that would shut down the thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells around the nation, which pollute water and leak methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Read more here.

BIDEN CLIMATE TEAM

Biden Builds Out Administration-Wide Climate Team, American Institute of Physics
Adding to his early announcement of former Democratic senator and secretary of state John Kerry as special climate envoy, Biden’s team now includes a “national climate advisor” focused on domestic policy and nominees to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Energy and the Interior. Other Cabinet nominees and White House staff members named this month also have experience in climate policy.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

NRDC’S REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE SERIES

Regenerative Agriculture Part 3: The Practices, Natural Resources Defense Council 
The first blog introduced the philosophy of regenerative agriculture, and the second blog covered the principles of regenerative agriculture. This blog summarizes some of the practices that regenerative growers use. The fourth blog will discuss the benefits of regenerative agriculture.

TESLA NEWS

Tesla (TSLA) launches its own solar power inverter, Electrek
Tesla has had success with its Powerwall, a home battery pack that matches well with a residential solar installation, and it is starting to have some success with its solar roof tiles. Surprisingly, considering Tesla’s extensive expertise in power electronics in its electric vehicles, the company never had its own solar power inverter, an important part of a solar installation… until now. Now the company is adding a new in-house designed ‘Tesla Solar Inverter’ to its lineup.

Previously Posted: Tesla partners with other companies to install solar roof tiles, Electrek

Tesla Solar Roof Available in Nebraska


Certified
 Tesla Solar Roof Installer in
Nebraska: Weddle & Sons Roofing
Office locations in Lincoln and Omaha

You Tube Video: We Installed A Tesla Solar Roof In One Day: Weddle & Sons Roofing

Nearly $2T stimulus package omits direct renewable sector aid after Trump, McConnell opposition

Written by Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Relief for the renewable energy sector was not included in the $2 trillion support package the Senate unanimously passed on Wednesday. But industry stakeholders say several of the broader economic provisions could provide employment and other relief to the sector, and there is still opportunity for inclusion in inevitable future federal legislation that will be needed to address the industry-wide impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As Congress continues to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we appreciate that they are prioritizing relief for families and small businesses. There are several elements in this legislation that can help solar businesses and solar workers, including long-term unemployment insurance, business loans and provisions that support employee retention and other employee protections,” Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said in a statement. Read more here.

Previously Posted

In a March 23rd article, Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor of the GreenBiz Group, spells out the massive benefits of America’s transition to a green economy, with clean and renewable energy, regenerative farming, climate action, carbon reduction and other opportunities at its core:  

After the age of contagion, what’s the ‘new normal’?
We at GreenBiz have reported on a spate of studies and plans that similarly align sustainability with large-scale economic development: the circular economy (a $2 trillion opportunity), carbon tech (a trillion-dollar opportunity), sustainable food and land systems ($4.5 trillion) low-carbon cities ($24 trillion), climate action ($26 trillion) and more. As I noted last fall, trillion is the new billion. And then there’s the Green New Deal, a concept that seems to have been rekindled in the age of contagion. 

All Hell Breaking Loose Examines Climate Change From the Perspective of the U.S. Military

All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective
On Climate Change, by Michael T. Klare

The Pentagon, unsentimental and politically conservative, might not seem likely to be worried about climate change―still linked, for many people, with polar bears and coral reefs. Yet of all the major institutions in American society, none take climate change as seriously as the U.S. military. Both as participants in climate-triggered conflicts abroad, and as first responders to hurricanes and other disasters on American soil, the armed services are already confronting the impacts of global warming.

The military now regards climate change as one of the top threats to American national security―and is busy developing strategies to cope with it. Drawing on previously obscure reports and government documents, renowned security expert Michael Klare shows that the U.S. military sees the climate threat as imperiling the country on several fronts at once. Read more about the book here.

Related Reading 

Additional Recommended Reading

Warren Buffett’s Annual Letter – Iowa’s Outstanding Wind Energy Development

Here’s what Buffett is telling shareholders in his annual letter, Omaha World-Herald

Buffett talked up the success of Berkshire’s energy subsidiary, which was launched in 2000 when Berkshire purchased MidAmerican Energy in neighboring Iowa. He said MidAmerican will hit a significant milestone in 2021 when it’s projected to be producing 25.2 million megawatt-hours of electricity from wind. That’s more than the annual needs of all of its Iowa customers. “In other words, our utility will have attained wind-energy self-sufficiency in the state of Iowa,” he said.

He noted the company has done that with rate increases of less than 1% a year, and the company has pledged no rate increases through at least 2028. He contrasted that to the other major utility in Iowa, which gets less than 10% of its power from wind and which has rates 61% higher than MidAmerican. Buffett also put out an offer to the rest of the industry. Berkshire has the operating talent and experience to manage “truly huge utility projects” of $100 billion or more, he said. “We stand ready, willing and able to take on such opportunities,” he said. 

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

Forget moonshots — it’s time now for a global ‘soilshot’ to address climate change

By David Montgomery, Professor of Earth and Space Sciences,
University of Washington. Published by GreenBiz.

What if it were possible to reverse course, regenerate soil organic matter and reduce farmers’ need for diesel fuel and chemical fertilizers made with fossil fuels? This would make it feasible to stash more carbon in the soil and reduce the amount that’s sent skyward in the process of growing food. I saw the potential for regenerative agriculture to restore soil organic matter in both developed and developing countries when I researched Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, my book about how regenerative farming practices allow farmers to reduce their use of costly fertilizers and pesticides. All the farmers I interviewed shared three things in common. Read more here.

Infographic: How plants sequester carbon A) as they grow and B) after they die. University of Nebraska-LincolnCreative Commons

Additional Recommended Reading

Booklet: Guide to Regenerative Agriculture in Nebraska