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Accelerate regenerative agriculture

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 (Women for the Land Initiative) 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.

Farmers and ranchers manage nearly one billion acres of the land in the United States — working lands that can serve as a natural carbon sink by drawing down atmospheric carbon dioxide and storing it in plants and soils. However, these working lands face threats from land degradation because of historical and common farming practices. Over time…

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No Till Farming
Jason Johnson, USDA NRCS Iowa

Tillage: an overview

Over time, tillage wreaks havoc on the health of the soil and all of the critters that support a flourishing and productive farm ecosystem...

Tillage is defined as the mechanical manipulation of the soil for the purpose of crop production affecting significantly the soil characteristics such as soil water conservation, soil temperature, infiltration and evapotranspiration processes.

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Judy Anderson

Some thoughts on no-till farming

Climate change messaging focuses on shared values and providing solutions. The Taos Land Trust has leaned into communicating about climate change, community conservation, and landscape protection. There isn't just one solution; regional differences will be a factor.

It is time to learn a new way of farming, or perhaps an old way — a way that nature has been trying to teach us since the beginning.

But first, you may be curious why tilling is such a problem. Over time, tillage wreaks havoc on the health of the soil and all of the critters that support a flourishing and productive farm ecosystem…

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Happy Farmers
Rachel Leathe/Bozeman Chronicle

American Farmland Trust calls on the Biden administration to protect and conserve 30% of working farmland and ranchland to achieve 30×30

It would be helpful if you shared on social media and reached out to your representatives to say how much you support the 30 x 30 effort — and to let them know it's important that they help counter misinformation. American Farmland Trust has a good post you can read here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, American Farmland Trust released “Agriculture’s Role in 30×30: Partnering with Farmers and Ranchers to Protect Land, Biodiversity, and the Climate” outlining agriculture’s critical role in the effort to “conserve at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030” as put forth in the Biden administration’s January 27, 2021, Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. AFT’s recommendations make it clear that we urgently need to both permanently protect five percent of vulnerable working lands from being converted to development and support landowners’ voluntary efforts to implement conservation practices on an additional twenty-five percent of working lands, particularly in biodiversity hotspots, key connectivity corridors and areas with high carbon sequestration potential.

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Yichuan Cao/Nur Photo/Getty Images

Biden enlists ranchers, tribes (and land trusts) to conserve 30% of land and water

There's a misinformation campaign ramping up, and we need your help to put it to rest. Please share articles that depict the truth about the 30 x 30 campaign, here in the U.S. It's not a land-grab. It's not all public land. It's not going to wipe out communities. Just the opposite. The vision is collaborative, voluntary, and inclusive.

The Biden administration is unveiling a plan to conserve 30% of U.S. lands and waters by the end of the decade, a top priority for environmentalists who see the initiative as a way to fight climate change and safeguard species on the brink of extinction.

“The conservation value of a particular place should not be measured solely in biological terms, but also by its capacity to purify drinking water, to cool the air for a nearby neighborhood,” or “to provide a safe outdoor escape for a community that is park-deprived,” the report says.

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Sheep For Solar

How to have your solar farm and keep your regular farm, too

We are losing farmland at an alarming rate, as noted by American Farmland Trust. Dual-use, or "compatible solar", depending on how it is designed, could help provide needed farm income AND improve soil health, sequester carbon, and diversify the operation over time. You can help promote dual-use and counter what is becoming more of a "not in my backyard" response. Solar can't just go on rooftops and parking lots and dumps. It's going to have to also go on open land. So, rather than cutting down forests, let's ensure solar installations are working with agriculture.

You may appreciate this short news clip from NPR

Clean, abundant solar power comes with a price. It requires lots of land, and in some places that’s provoking opposition from people who want to preserve farmland.

In southern New Jersey, for instance, a company called Dakota Power Partners wants to build an 800-acre solar power station, and the Pilesgrove Township planning board is hearing from local citizens who don’t like it one bit…

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Judy Anderson

She’s driven by soil health and pasture management

Regenerative agriculture, including rotational grazing, is increasingly seen as part of the climate solution and natural ecosystem restoration strategy. This is the sort of article you could share to help your readers understand how farmers and ranchers are working towards similar goals.

Looking out over the tidy farmstead in a valley below, Franceus talks about the ranch. Her parents bought the land in the early 1960s. “My mom sold a quarter of land in Illinois in order to purchase this place,” she says.

“It was predominantly covered in native grasses. My dad planted a pasture to crested wheat grass so that it would have some cool-season grasses for grazing. And now years later we are predominantly brome and bluegrass, which are cool-season grasses. Our biggest conservation challenge now is limiting the invasive cool-season grasses — the introduced species — and try and bring back the native grasses.”

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Girls Digging
Walton LaVonda, USFWS

Report: Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful

“A preliminary report to the National Climate Task Force recommending a ten-year, locally led campaign to conserve and protect the lands and waters upon which we all depend, and that bind us together as Americans.”

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Solar Panels

Crystal Spring Farm Community Solar Project

Are you looking for examples to demonstrate support for "compatible" renewables? This might be something you could emulate in your region.

For the [over] 25 years BTLT has owned and managed Crystal Spring Farm, a 331-acre property dynamic in its agricultural impact, community programs, recreational opportunities, and ecological value. As BTLT staff and resources have grown, so has our capacity to manage the many aspects of this incredible property…

Capacity: 78.65 Kilowatts (KW), 286 photovoltaic solar panels, 275 watts/panel

Host: Crystal Spring Farm, with concurrence of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (landowner).

Participants: Crystal Spring Farm plus seven other Brunswick families without access to solar electricity where they live.

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Western Meadowlark
Evan Barrientos/Audubon

Conservation Ranching: Empowering consumers to make a difference in grassland conservation

“Grassland birds have suffered an unparalleled decline over the past half century, stemming from widespread development of North America’s grasslands. This calls for Audubon’s action. To combat the negative effects of grassland degradations—and to keep grass on the landscape—Audubon has developed the Conservation Ranching Initiative. This market-based conservation approach offers incentives for good grassland stewardship through a certification label on beef products. For the first time, consumers can contribute to grassland conservation efforts by selectively purchasing beef from Audubon-certified farms and ranches…”

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