American Farmland Trust Releases a New Report Showing that Regenerative Agriculture is a Key Tool in the Fight Against Climate Change
(Washington, DC) American Farmland Trust, in partnership with Conservation Law Foundation, released a report titled: Regenerative Agriculture for New England: Sustaining Farmland Productivity in a Changing Climate, which outlines the role that farmers play in the fight against climate change. The report presents key findings on the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of regenerative practices and the importance of supporting farmers in their transition to them. The report focused on opportunities and challenges in New England.
Regenerative agriculture, defined in the report as “a suite of practices that actively restore the natural resources of the land,” includes practices like agroforestry, forest gardening, silvopasture, crop rotation, reduced tillage, holistically managed grazing, conservation buffers and cover cropping. These principles are built from traditional Indigenous practices, such as Three Sisters companion planting.
The report presents New England-wide conservation practice adoption using Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and USDA data sources and includes practices such as no-till and reduced tillage, which were only reported on 12 percent of all regional cropland acres. The report also models current greenhouse gas mitigation impacts and the possible future impacts with increased adoption of practices, such as no-till (below), cover crops, nutrient management and more.
“This report highlights that it is imperative to support farmers through technical and financial assistance as they begin implementing regenerative agriculture practices,” said Allie Fish, AFT’s Climate and Soil Health Specialist. “Farmers are busy growing food and fiber, so there needs to be easily accessible information and resources to realize a future of productive farmland, nourished communities and healthy soils.”
The report states that “farmers and ranchers are one of our nation’s greatest allies in fighting climate change. To do this, however, policymakers must invest in our farmers and their farmland so they can reduce emissions and adapt to climate change through the adoption of regenerative agriculture.” It is crucial to improve the policy around regenerative practices on farmland. With adequate and appropriate support to mitigate the financial risk associated with transitioning to new practices, more farmers can adopt regenerative practices.
“New England’s farmers are on the front lines of the climate fight,” said Scott Sanderson, Interim Director of Conservation Law Foundation’s Farm & Food Initiative. “This report highlights all the great ways regenerative farmers are making our food system more resilient, protecting waters, and providing us access to healthy, local, affordable food. It’s time for our leaders to step up and make it easier for farmers to transition to regenerative systems.”
According to the report, “together, the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices can encourage system-level changes, generating far greater climate mitigation impacts and supporting a viable future for New England agriculture.”
The full report can be found at https://farmlandinfo.org/publications/regenerative-agriculture-for-new-england/
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.