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Farmer And Cows With Solar
collage of National Grazing Lands Coalition photos

Combating climate change: Solar energy, farming, and the future in New York

Could your land trust participate in, or help host, a learning session on how we can ramp up renewables as part of agricultural lands? If agricultural conservation and viability is part of your work, then slowing down climate change is going to be critical for your success—and the success of your farmers and ranchers. I'm providing the following workshop example as inspiration for what you could do in your area.

American Farmland Trust (An Example of Taking Action)

November 13, 2019
Hotel Indigo, Riverhead, NY
Join farmers, solar experts, public officials, and others to discuss ways to expand renewable energy generation, support farm businesses, and drive action in response to climate change.

Cost: $15 (payable by credit/debit card or eCheck)

Ticket price includes breakfast and lunch. Land use training credits will be offered to local officials. For any questions about the event or registration please contact newyork@farmland.org.

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Agrivoltaics
University of Arizona

Agrivoltaics proves mutually beneficial

Land trusts will want to draft conservation easements to allow for co-usage of solar and agricultural lands. Technology is changing quickly to allow for co-benefits—and to help slow down climate change. In a changing climate, many farmers find this income critical.

Building resiliency in renewable energy and food production is a fundamental challenge in today’s changing world, especially in regions susceptible to heat and drought.

Agrivoltaics, the co-locating of agriculture and solar photovoltaic panels, offers a possible solution, with new University of Arizona-led research reporting positive impacts on food production, water savings, and the efficiency of electricity production…

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Solar Panels
Pixabay

Sheep get to work maintaining Newfield solar array

Help your community and/or region understand how solar can be compatible with farming—or pollinators—if it is designed in such a way. In this case, it's grazing sheep. In other cases, it can be growing crops or grazing large animals.

As solar panels in the 30-acre array off of Millard Hill Road in Newfield soaked up Tuesday morning’s sunshine, a new kind of maintenance crew was headed out to work: a flock of about 45 sheep. Though timid about getting out of their trailer and exploring the new surroundings at first (it was their first time leaving their home farm in Enfield), the lambs quickly got to work munching down on the tall grass, clovers, forbs, and other greenery sprouting up between the panels.

The solar panels in Newfield were Nexamp’s [a solar energy team’s] first community solar project in New York and officially went online last year…

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Soil For Agriculture
Judy Anderson

For climate-smart farmers, carbon solution is in the soil

If your land trust works to conserve farm and ranchlands, what could you do to help support the landowners' transition to carbon farming? One step is to spread the word...

There’s a new agricultural commodity that farmers, food giants, and grassroots groups are all rallying behind: carbon.

Proponents say that if the United States’ 20th-century success as a global agricultural power was measured by how much food came from American soil, the 21st century offers a new paradigm: measuring how much carbon dioxide American farmers can retain in the soil while still producing food…

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A Climate Reckoning In The Heartland

“I’m not a climate change guy, but…” Farmers reckon with new reality in the heartland: Video

Can you share this on your social media feed or with specific members of your local agriculture group? In this video, the farmer's newly daily routine at ~12 minutes might surprise you...

The reality is that protecting land for future generations is now more at risk than ever before: families’ lives are at stake. We need to rethink what conservation will mean into the future.

In response to troubling weather patterns and climate changes, some farmers in Nebraska are considering new solutions to keep their businesses afloat. One of those farmers, Graham Christensen, travels the country discussing a green farming initiative called regenerative farming…

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Farm Landscape
Judy Anderson

The next regeneration

From behind the wheel, Ben Dobson, the farm manager, explained why his farm was unseasonably busy. “The basic premise of what people are now calling ‘carbon farming’ is that the earth’s surfaces were made to photosynthesize,” he said, eyeing his fields with a relaxed confidence.

It’s all part of a natural cycle: On warm days, Dobson’s crops pull carbon dioxide from the sky and release it into the soil where it nourishes developing plants. Even in the dead of winter, the fields are full of roots working to keep carbon in the soil. This is one of the ways that Dobson’s farm is able to keep carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for climate change, in the ground…

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Hayfield
Judy Anderson

Two families lock in a deal to ensure their farmland never becomes home to a warehouse

One of the ways you can talk about climate change is by embedding it into the larger story. This is a good example of an agricultural project that mentions it, in a conversational manner, as one part of the overall benefit of land conservation.

After a warehouse popped up near their properties, two Union Township farmers recently took steps to make sure their land would never be put to the same use.

The Nye and Shuey families put conservation easements on their land deeds, which means the land will have to be used for agricultural purposes in the future, no matter how often it is sold.

“I hate to see these warehouses going up,” said Deb Shuey, who preserved more than 100 acres of her land. “I would like to see this land stay as farmland and not be developed…”

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Field
Judy Anderson

The new plan to remove a trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? Bury it in farmland.

Called the Teraton Initiative (a “teraton” is a trillion tons), this company forecasts that the initiative (sounds like carbon payments) will sign up 3,000 farmers globally, including more than 1 million acres in 2019. Will your area farmers be part of this?

“Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere [recently] surpassed 415 parts per million, the highest in human history. Environmental experts say the world is increasingly on a path toward a climate crisis.

The most prominent efforts to prevent that crisis involve reducing carbon emissions. But another idea is also starting to gain traction—sucking all that carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it underground.

But an upstart company, ­Boston-based Indigo AG, now wants to transform farming practices so that agriculture becomes quite the opposite of what it is today (a major source of greenhouse gas emissions)…

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Corn In The Sun
Inside Climate News

Corn’s Troubled Future Under Climate Change

“There’s something horribly ironic about the recent report from Environment America that suggests American corn yields will decline 3 percent in coming years due to anthropogenic global warming.

The report itself is bad news.

It suggests that contrary to much-ballyhooed studies and predictions that American crop yields will increase due to a longer growing season and the carbon fertilization effect, which increases crop growth due to greater atmospheric carbon for plants to feed on, American corn farmers in coming years will lose over a billion dollars in revenue annually as irregular precipitation and overly-warm temperatures stunt crop growth…”

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Quantifying Soil Carbon

Quantifying global soil carbon losses in response to warming

“The majority of the Earth’s terrestrial carbon is stored in the soil. If anthropogenic warming stimulates the loss of this carbon to the atmosphere, it could drive further planetary warming. Despite evidence that warming enhances carbon fluxes to and from the soil, the net global balance between these responses remains uncertain. Here we present a comprehensive analysis of warming-induced changes in soil carbon stocks by assembling data from 49 field experiments located across North America, Europe and Asia. We find that the effects of warming are contingent on the size of the initial soil carbon stock, with considerable losses occurring in high-latitude areas…”

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