Check out OrCAN's latest report!
Lay of the Land & Levers for Change:
Farming for Climate Resilience in Oregon 2021 and Beyond
From the Introduction:
What does an agricultural economy resilient to a changing climate in Oregon look like? What is already happening in Oregon to make this vision a reality? How do farmers and ranchers need and want to improve their operations? Where are the gaps in research, outreach, and technical support for farmers? These questions shaped the focus of Oregon Climate and Agriculture Network (OrCAN) from March of 2020-June of 2021 . . . This report shares out what we've heard.
On the Science
“Combating Climate Change on US Cropland: Affirming the technical capacity of cover cropping and no-till to sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” A must read 2021 summary of the science to date, from soil science to the social science of practice adoption, very accessible for all readers.
Climate Mitigation Potential of Regenerative Agriculture is Significant: The latest from leading scientists in 2020.
Natural climate solutions for the United States: a solid 2018 study quantifying soil carbon sequestration and reduced greenhouse gas potential of natural climate solutions, including agricultural solutions, in the US. Also recognizes the additional benefits of these solutions for water use efficiency, flood control, soil health, wildlife habitat and climate resilience.
Oregon Forests and Farms Can Fight Climate Change: January 2020 study from The Nature Conservancy and Portland State University.
Carbon Sequestration Potential on Agricultural Lands: A 2015 review of current science and available practices. Includes a good Soil Carbon 101 section plus a deeper dive into the impacts of implementing different practices.
USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Climate-Smart Mitigation Activities: a 2022 list connecting conservation practices and greenhouse gas mitigation potential. Also includes great short videos describing practices!
On the economic benefits of soil health
American Farmland Trust quantified the economic and environmental benefits of soil health practices on farms in nine case studies on different farming systems throughout the US. Check them out here.
Conservation's Impact on the Farm's Bottom Line:
Soil Health Partnership (SHP), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and K·Coe Isom collaborated to evaluate the financial impact of conservation tillage and cover crop usage among Midwest corn and soybean farmers.
On practical application
A Whole Farm Planning Tool: Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches by Laura Lengnick
On the barriers & opportunities for implementing farming for climate resilience
Climate change mitigation as a co-benefit of regenerative ranching: insights from Australia and the United States. (Authors: Hannah Gosnell, Susan Charnley and Paige Stanley). Understanding why ranchers adopt managed grazing is key to developing the right incentives. In this paper, we explore principles and practices associated with the larger enterprise of ‘regenerative ranching’ (RR), which includes managed grazing but infuses the practice with holistic decision-making. We argue that this broader approach is appealing due to a suite of ecological, economic and social benefits, making climate change mitigation an afterthought, or ‘co-benefit’.
Barriers For Farmers & Ranchers To Adopt Regenerative Ag Practices In The US. Identifying Key Levers and Opportunities- A Roadmap For Funders and Stakeholders. An incredibly comprehensive look at what we need to transition to more resilient practices centering equity issues and the needs of farmers. Also check out a January 2021 webinar on the report here.
A Discussion on Decolonizing Regenerative Agriculture. Access a recording of this incredible conversation featuring A-dae Romero Briones of the First Nations Development Institute and Mark Muller of the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation.
On current funding opportunities for farming for climate resilience
Oregon Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has several cost-share grant programs that currently fund best practices for soil health. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the more advanced Conservation Stewardship Program are two of these programs. Your local NRCS staff will be able to help you navigate these resources.
Learn more about working with NRCS by checking out this Guide to Working with NRCS. (While it says Beginning Farmers, it’s good for anyone new to working with NRCS.)
Historically underserved farmers are eligible for ADVANCED EQIP payments as of the 2018 Farm bill. See more info here.
We also encourage you to review The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s:
Get Started! A Guide to USDA Resources for Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers.
On California’s climate smart agriculture programs
Farmer Stories - what does climate smart agriculture look like on farms and ranches in California?
A 2020 Report on California’s Healthy Soils Program to incentivize soil health programs. Or check out their results in webinar form.
A January 2021 Snapshot of California’s Climate Smart Agriculture Programs.
On carbon markets
Here's What a Carbon Offset Actually Looks Like - A solid 2020 carbon offset explainer from Outside Magazine
Check out Cultivate Oregon’s Informative 2020 Soil Symposium Webinar Recordings here
Are Carbon Markets for Farmers Worth the Hype? A deep dive into the issues around carbon markets from Civil Eats.
From OrCAN's view
2021 Policy Information session on: Opportunities for Agriculture in Oregon's Climate Action Plan. Check out the slides here and a short recording of the presentation here.
Here are OrCAN’s current state-level Policy Recommendations.
A Report from OrCAN's 06/30/20 Convening: Practical Tools Illustrate Climate Change Mitigation on Oregon’s Farms & Ranches
Oregon’s Cap & Reduce Plan: Are Farmland Based Carbon Offsets a Viable Alternative Compliance Option?