American Farmland Trust applauds introduction of bipartisan bill to advance agrivoltaics
Agrivoltaics refers to the practices of integrating solar energy generation and farming on the same piece of land, which could potentially reduce displacement of agricultural production from farmland as a result of solar development. The concept has been gaining attention in land-constrained countries like Japan and Germany as well as in states like Massachusetts and New Jersey.
“If included in the Farm Bill,” Fink said, “the Agrivoltaics Research and Demonstration Act would secure USDA’s role in advancing this innovation alongside the Department of Energy, AFT, and other partners across the country. Together, we are seeking ways to reduce displacement of farming from productive land as a result of solar energy development.”
Inflation Reduction Act investments in USDA loan and conservation programs
On August 16, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. It offers a historic, once-in-a-generation investment and opportunity for the agricultural communities that USDA serves. The Inflation Reduction Act will help producers stay on the farm, help prevent producers from becoming ineligible for future assistance, and promote climate-smart agriculture by increasing access to conservation assistance.
Agriculture is part of the climate solution. Grasslands are one of the largest carbon sinks on the planet, capable of pulling enormous quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil.
Carbon farming is the process of farming and ranching to maximize the land’s ability to lock up CO2 and other greenhouse gases, making the land more resilient to the effects of a changing climate.
Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) partners with MALT farmers and ranchers to implement carbon farming practices, benefiting farmers, their land, and the climate…
Land trusts ink deal to conserve 20 acres along Mill River in Williamsburg
Mark Wamsely, [Kestrel Land Trust’s] conservation director, highlighted the conservation as a way to combat climate change. The [press] release also notes the state’s 2022 Climate Change Assessment, which states that risk of flooding and erosion in the hilltowns is likely over the coming century.
“It’s important that we address climate change in a thoughtful way and don’t accidentally harm the very natural resources that are under threat,” said Wamsley, adding that, “Conserving forests is one way the Hilltowns can make a critical contribution to combating climate change.”
Climate change website pages
Land trusts often wonder how they can increase their efforts to connect with people around climate change, meet them where they are, and inspire local, regional, and national action.
Many land trusts start with nature-based climate solutions as a way to connect. However, it’s important for people to also understand what they can do as individuals based upon their interests and capacity, in addition to what the land trust is doing.
If you are interested in enhancing climate messaging or raising the profile of your local land trust, you might find the Coastal Prairie Conservancy’s climate pages of interest.
Mississippi Valley Conservancy planting trees to help combat climate change
Carol Abrahamzon, Executive Director of the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, met with the local TV station to talk briefly about a restoration project they are working on.
“Abrahamzon says these trees are essential to providing a healthy habitat to the Coulee Region. The trees to be planted at the Conservancy’s Trempealeau Lakes nature preserve include swamp white oak, silver maple, and river birch.
Abrahamzon says that the selected tree species are native to the Driftless Area and will adapt well to this site and require little care after they become established. All of these benefits strengthen the land’s resilience to a changing climate…”
Can agriculture and solar co-exist?
As New York faces a future that includes wetter winters, and periods of more frequent droughts during the summer, farming continues to be a challenging livelihood. For many farmers looking to retire, as well as new or younger farmers, the economics of agriculture is increasingly a focal point as they plan their future. According to American Farmland Trust’s Farms Under Threat report, New York lost over a quarter million acres of farmland in sixteen years (2000 – 2016).
The loss of NY’s farmland is concerning. But imagine if farmers had an income stream that helped cover rough years caused by drought, flooding, and erratic weather. That’s part of a shift underway to rethink solar development that works for farmers and farming, rather than taking land out of production.
While I think we can all agree that no one wants to see solar panels on good farmland if it takes that farmland out of production, Farmer First Solar changes that paradigm and prioritizes designs that allow for greater farming options, increased farm viability, and soil health…
Nicole Braddock honored as 2023 Solano County climate crisis champion
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson named Nicole Braddock (Solano Land Trust’s Executive Director) the 2023 Solano County Climate Crisis Champion for California’s Fourth District….Braddock stresses the importance that “all children should have equitable access to outdoor programming. Also, Braddock sees her work as “bridge building.”
“Conservation is apolitical, but sometimes when the word ‘climate’ enters the conversation, it starts to become political,” Braddock says. “I want to make sure that all people are a part of the solution. What Solano Land Trust and I stand for is bringing people together to work on the solution together and talk to each other, that’s when all the possibilities open.”
Forterra: Modular prototype homes
The Modular Prototype of ModPro is the building block for the Forest to Home model and the first cross-laminated timber (CLT) modular multi-family home prototype constructed in the United States. Created in partnership with Zaugg AG Rohrbach, a leading timber construction and manufacturing company from Switzerland, ModPro was assembled, plumbed, and furnished in just 22 days.
The impact of climate change in the Pacific Northwest
“Instead of feeling overwhelmed, it helps focus on the things we can control. To address climate change, we need to reduce our emissions and increase carbon sequestration. Forterra’s approach is two-fold: restoring our ecosystems, which are natural carbon sinks, and facilitating sustainable new development that both builds social equity and has a smaller carbon footprint.
“Through our community real estate program, we apply our expertise in negotiation, financing, and entitlement to support local communities in fostering well-being. One example of this is cross-laminated timber (CLT), a wood panel product made by gluing together layers of lumber stacked in alternating perpendicular directions. CLT reduces the cost of construction to make homes more affordable, creates new jobs in struggling rural communities, enhances forest health and stores more carbon when paired with sustainable harvesting. Learn about our work with a CLT modular prototype here…”