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Meat Processors
FAO

Food systems account for more than one third of global greenhouse gas emissions

"The world's food systems are responsible for more than one-third of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, according to a pioneering new study published in Nature Food..."

Some two-thirds of the emissions from global food systems come from the land-based sector, comprising agriculture, land use and land use changes. That figure is higher for developing countries, but also declining significantly in step with decreasing deforestation and increasing downstream activities such as food processing and refrigeration.

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Melting Snow Field
Judy Anderson

Off-farm activities are a growing share of food-system greenhouse gas emissions

For many conservation organizations in the U.S., these insights are going to resonate. Now, conserving farms and ranches close to where markets are, and thus reducing transport costs, has more clarity with climate change in mind.

The research team that compiled the study consists of experts from Columbia University and NASA, several UN agencies and numerous policy-focused research centers. The open-access report, which builds on another recent data-rich food and agriculture organization of the United Nations study, offers the full spectrum of technical findings, and represents an important step for building a full database…

One emergent theme is that optimal greenhouse gas mitigation strategies require a focus on activities before and after farm production, ranging from the industrial production of fertilizers to refrigeration at the retail level, as this is the area where emissions are growing fastest — due in part to a slowdown in deforestation…

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Ethan Winter TNC

AFT welcomes solar and conservation specialist

American Farmland Trust is gearing up to find creative solutions that increase agricultural viability and slow down climate change. This work includes finding opportunities to work with solar companies, communities, and farmers in the Northeast.

American Farmland Trust welcomes Ethan Winter as the Northeast Solar Specialist. In this role, Winter will work across regional and national programs to help set and implement AFTs strategy for solar energy generation and farmland conservation. Winter joins AFT with an extensive background in solar development throughout the Northeast.

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Tree Planting
Suncommon

Restoration and solar team up

Those I know who work in the solar field are doing so because they want to make a difference. Many times that includes slowing down climate change and enhancing wildlife or farm viability. How is your local or regional land conservation group building relationships with solar companies?

For over a year now, much of the SunCommon team has been working remotely, and all-staff gatherings have been suspended. But graced with good weather and increased access to vaccines amongst [their] staff, [they] paused operations for a day to give each other the opportunity to reconnect after a year apart, provide service to our community, and expand [their] mission impact by planting carbon-sequestering trees.

Check out the projects and organizations they worked with…

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Healthy Soil
Flickr

Quantifying economic and environmental benefits of soil health

I’m so excited about the release of new American Farmland Trust research that proves soil health benefits go right to farmers’ bottom line.

Many farmers believe the scientific evidence that soil health practices improve soil and water quality. However, they are reluctant to change management techniques without knowing how much the soil health practices will cost or benefit them. So, AFT found “soil health successful farmers,” and conducted benefit-cost analyses.

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Hand On The Soil
AFT

The math is in: Soil health practices produce real return on investment

Climate change messaging focuses on shared values and providing solutions. While there is a great deal of talk about healthy soils sequestering carbon and other greenhouse gases, farm and ranch viability is central to successful agricultural climate solutions.

Our nation’s farmers and ranchers care deeply about the land. They want to use practices that improve soil health and protect water quality, like no-till or strip till, cover crops, and nutrient management.

But, farming is a business like any other. If the numbers don’t add up, it’s hard to make improvements that are good for the environment.

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Solar And Sheep
Wikimedia

How solar energy can coincide with crop and animal agriculture

We need to see clean energy as part of our conservation solution and work to authentically find ways to promote it, and not sideline it under the guise of locating it in "appropriate places." We need to promote dual-use, elevated solar that supports farm viability.

We’ve devoted millions of acres of land to growing crops and allowing farm animals to graze. Now, that land used for agriculture can have a dual purpose — to harness the sun’s rays and provide energy.

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Sheep And Solar
Wikimedia

The future of solar relies on synergies between renewables development and the environment

We need to see clean energy as part of our conservation solution and work to authentically find ways to promote it, and not sideline it under the guise of locating it in "appropriate places." We need to promote dual-use, elevated solar that supports farm viability.

As corporations and utilities continue to look to renewable energy to help them reach sustainability and renewable portfolio standard (RPS) commitments, solar development has flourished. According to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, it’s predicted that utility-scale solar sites are on track to occupy nearly 2 million acres in the United States by 2030.

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Solar Grazing Map
OnPasture

Solar grazing: A new income stream for livestock producers

We are going to need renewables at a large scale in the U.S. — and soon. Rather than wipe out forests, we could encourage solar that works with farmland. We need conservationists to help make this a reality. You can share these articles to let people know that dual-use solar can help farmland and farmers.

Utility-scale solar arrays may cover 3 million acres across the U.S. by 2030, according to the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). This is causing tension with farmers and farmland advocates, as the panels are often sited on good agricultural land, displacing current production.

One solution is to restrict solar developments from being installed on farmland. But there are other solutions worth pursuing, too. Most large-scale solar arrays are located in rural areas where economies are hurting and farmer numbers are dwindling…

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Female Farmers
Pixabay

Empowering women farmers and landowners to protect their land and embrace conservation

American Farmland Trust recently featured this article in their eNews and linked some of its points to work they are doing to be more inclusive and focus on healthy soils, farm/ranch viability, and climate change. Is that something you or your land trust finds interesting? If so, you could do the same.

“The future of agriculture is increasingly female.

43 percent of U.S. farmland —nearly 388 million acres— is now farmed or co- farmed by women. Many of these women have a strong conservation ethic and are deeply committed to healthy farmland, farm families, and farm communities.

But women face gender-related barriers to managing their land for long-term sustainability…”

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