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Cows
iStock

A new study on regenerative grazing complicates climate optimism

Agriculture can be part of the climate solution. White Oak Pastures is at the center of a larger conversation about the climate impact of beef and the power of regenerative grazing to store carbon in the soil.

A new, peer-reviewed paper on White Oak Pastures’ practices advances our understanding of the climate impact of beef and the potential for regenerative grazing to store carbon in the soil….

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Sheep
MN Board of Water and Soil Resources

Rotational grazing revives the prairie

Prairies, because of their deep-rooted plants, can slow down climate change by storing carbon in roots. Managing prairies for wildlife habitat, soil health, and climate change will also help with water retention and flood control. Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources is testing out regenerative agricultural and prairie health.

Foraging sheep, prairie plants, and soil health all benefited from a two-month experiment that allowed Chris Schmidt to rotationally graze on neighboring land enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

The 45-acre prairie restoration was overdue for mid-contract maintenance… “Songbirds. Butterflies. Bees. All that stuff is intertwined one way or another. We can’t have one without the other. Increase that diversity not only in plants but wildlife,” Schmidt said of grazing the landscape…

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Faarmer

Could new soil practices save farmers from climate change?

Sharing examples of regenerative agriculture, sometimes called climate-friendly agriculture, is going to be helpful so farmers and ranchers get the support they need to implement these practices.

Some farmers are finding that no-till soil management can insulate plants against extreme weather. Soil health is a big factor in this; managing weather stress, insects, and changing conditions are part of our farming future.

Good Morning America featured this video recently. It’s a good sign that regenerative agriculture is now starting to go mainstream. If you work with farmers and ranchers, this might be something you could share.

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Cows
Progressive Cattle

Solar panel shade for cattle

The dairy industry faces increasing market stresses; many farms have gone out of business. There is no reason why we couldn't prioritize solar to work with dairy grazing. It would enhance soil health, animal health, and farm viability.

Dr. Brad Heins, associate professor of dairy management at the University of Minnesota and researcher at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, Minnesota, implemented this idea at the center’s 300-cow pasture to provide shade for the herd and energy to power milking equipment. “The concept of solar grazing started because we wanted to reduce heat stress and produce energy to utilize in our dairy farm,” Heins says. “Our goal is to have a net-zero dairy.”

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solar
Hyperion LLC, Massachusetts

Agrivoltaics clearinghouse launches to share info on matching solar with farming

Let's focus on soil health, water management, and farm and ranch viability. Let's stop focusing on preventing solar on "the best soils" and recognize that we have lost millions of acres of "the best soils" to development — or farming practices that have eroded those very soils and caused massive water pollution. This resource can help change current misconceptions, and support farmers and ranchers.

Solar installations may cover more than 3 million acres of the United States over the next decade, opening the door for PV to be paired with agricultural land to produce food, conserve ecosystems, and maximize income for farmers.

This opportunity, led by the National Center for Appropriate Technology to launch, is said to be the nation’s first AgriSolar Clearinghouse to connect farmers, ranchers, land managers, solar developers, and researchers with information about co-locating solar and agriculture…

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Agri Solar Clearing House

What is the AgriSolar Clearinghouse?

Solar installations may cover more than 3 million acres of the United States over the next decade, opening the door for PV to be paired with agricultural land to produce food, conserve ecosystems, and maximize income for farmers. This opportunity, led by the National Center for Appropriate Technology to launch, is said to be the nation’s first AgriSolar Clearinghouse to connect farmers, ranchers, land managers, solar developers, and researchers with information about co-locating solar and agriculture...

The AgriSolar Clearinghouse is an information-sharing, relationship-building, public communications hub for all things agrisolar. The AgriSolar community will:

  • Connect farmers, developers, researchers, and the public
  • Provide practical technical assistance
  • Develop best practices and innovative solutions to barriers
  • Evaluate innovative financing options
  • Promote sustainable agrisolar opportunities
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Aft

Farmers combat climate change

Farmers can be part of the climate solution — and many already are. If you or your land trust works with farmers, you might consider how to amplify the positive change agriculture can be.

American Farmland Trust is committed to making U.S. agriculture climate neutral. To do so, we are elevating the role of farmers and farmland in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change. From policy leadership, coalition building, and training, to research and on-the-ground demonstration projects, we are working to scale up the adoption of regenerative and soil health-promoting agricultural systems…

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Solara
Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE

Agrivoltaics to protect crops from heavy rainfall

If agriculture is going to flourish in a changing climate, we need to think about how to support it given increasingly extreme weather, blights, and management challenges. With millions of dollars going to farm viability efforts in the U.S. every year, it's completely possible that we as a country would also start to channel some of those funds to support elevated solar. Solar and orchards is a new idea for me, but I could see it having a lot of benefits in areas dealing with hail and extreme weather.

BayWa r.e. and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have built a 258 kW agrivoltaic system that hosts apple cultivation under four different crop protection systems. The system utilizes agrivoltaic technology with permanent, light-permeable PV modules that block rain, and tracking PV module tech that blocks rain only if necessary…

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Solar And Ag
Werner Slocum, NREL

The future of agriculture combined with renewable energy finds success at Jack’s Solar Garden

Across the world, and here in the U.S., those who care about farm and ranch viability, healthy soils, and water retention are realizing that elevated solar, and solar that works well with large animals and crops, is going to be an important piece in the conservation puzzle.

Jack’s Solar Garden is the largest commercially active agrivoltaics system researching crop and vegetation growth under photovoltaic solar panels in the United States. The garden generates enough power for more than 300 homes from 3,276 solar panels (6 ft and 8 ft) that create a 1.2-MW community solar garden.

Audubon Rockies, a regional office of the bird protection society, established their largest Habitat Hero pollinator habitat in Colorado around the solar array, while a local nonprofit farming organization, Sprout City Farms, trains young farmers to cultivate crops under the solar panels…

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Cows
iStock

Farming to mitigate the effects of climate change

Land trusts are working to help their communities understand how farming can be part of the solution.

At Bailey and Sarah Williamson Preserve, farmers will be using regenerative methods to help mitigate and reverse the effects of climate change. Industrial-conventional agriculture models have focused on single-crop operations that have exceeded the natural carrying capacity of the land, ruining soil, water, habitat, and air quality. Regenerative methods seek to reverse some of this damage by rebuilding degraded soils, increasing biodiversity, and creating healthy, fair, and just food systems…

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