Diageo drones increase farming efficiency, environmental benefits

Read the full story at Pro Food World.

Drones are being employed in tequila farming to accumulate data on agave plants to make better farming decisions and reduce water and fertilizer use, while cutting carbon emissions.

Why General Mills is embarking on a farmer-driven regenerative agriculture strategy

Read the full story at Food Dive.

While the term “regenerative agriculture” has become a central tenet of Big Food’s goal to lower its carbon footprint, to some critics, it lacks a universal definition that has opened it up to skepticism.

But General Mills says its use of the term is less about setting hard and fast rules and more about listening to the farmers who are familiar with their land.

The cereal and snacks giant — which in 2020 set a goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030 — launched its annual sustainability report this week where it called regenerative agriculture the “most promising solution to reach our climate goals.” The term is defined by General Mills as a farming approach that captures atmospheric carbon in order to sequester it.

Bee certification program enhances sustainable agriculture with 3rd-party verification

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

The Pollinator Partnership is expanding its bee certification program by adding a third-party verification option designed to encourage farmers and growers to create safe habitats for bees and other essential pollinators, which will improve sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

The program is being offered in collaboration with Where Food Comes From. Silk Canada, a product from Danone, and KIND Snacks have taken a step toward sustainable almond production by beta-testing a portion of their almond volume under the Bee Friendly Farming Certified third-party verified program. Two almond suppliers in California – Harris Woolf Almonds and Treehouse Almonds – are also participating in the beta test of the program.

These farmers recharged groundwater by catching atmospheric rivers

Read the full story at Civil Eats.

After years of drought and dozens of recent atmospheric rivers, Central California farmers have revamped an old practice: intentionally flooding fields for deep irrigation and restoration of underground aquifers.

Regenerative agriculture and agrivoltaics: Farm-to-solar could accelerate the renewable energy transition

Read the full story at LA Progressive.

Embracing regenerative agriculture and agrivoltaics may be able to ally solar industry stakeholders with local farmers and the global agriculture industry.

How sustainable agriculture can combat drought and create resilient food systems

Read the full story at Food Tank.

Droughts have increased globally by nearly 30 percent since the year 2000, posing one of the most significant threats to agricultural systems and costing billions in global economic losses, according to a report by the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). But the use of sustainable land management practices, such as cover cropping as well as reduced tillage and improved irrigation techniques can help farmers regain control over their land, revitalize the soil, and mitigate the effects of drought. 

Soil erosion: A threat to crop yields and carbon sequestration

Read the full story at Successful Farming.

The images are familiar: gray clouds of soil billowing from crop fields in a dry, windy spring and road ditches filled with snowbanks crowned with brown. 

All tell the story of soil erosion. The images, which have prevailed across decades and generations, seem an inevitable outcome of farming. 

The true story behind these familiar sightings and the volume of erosion they represent is breathtaking. The historic loss of soil, when tallied across the most vulnerable topographical areas of the Midwest, may amount to 57 billion metric tons of topsoil and its carbon lost over the past 150 years of farming.

Stocking rangeland for carbon considerations

Read the full story from Texas A&M.

Prolonged high stocking rates and overgrazing by livestock can result in significantly less soil organic carbon and soil fertility on rangeland, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife-led study, which assessed key soil health indicators to determine the ecological effects of different grazing management.

In a study funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences recently published “Evaluating the impacts of alternative grazing management practices on soil carbon sequestration and soil health indicators” in the Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment journal.

Increased droughts are disrupting carbon-capturing soil microbes, concerning ecologists

Read the full story from Cell Press.

Soil stores more carbon than plants and the atmosphere combined, and soil microbes are largely responsible for putting it there. However, the increasing frequency and severity of drought, such as those that have been impacting California, could disrupt this delicate ecosystem. Microbial ecologists warn that soil health and future greenhouse gas levels could be impacted if soil microbes adapt to drought faster than plants do.

Environmentally sensitive Mississippi River region croplands should be targeted for conservation to benefit the climate and water quality

Read the full story from the Environmental Working Group.

Adopting conservation practices on environmentally sensitive croplands can have big benefits for the climate and water quality.

In counties in the Mississippi River region with farmed wetland acres, between 2017 and 2020, only 36 percent of funding from a major Department of Agriculture conservation program went to practices that would have such benefits. The region’s counties with the most environmentally sensitive wetland farmed acres did not receive a commensurate portion of such funding.