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American Farmland Trust Partners with The Nature Conservancy to Provide Over $100,000 for the Adoption of Regenerative Farming Practices and Water Conservation in Illinois

Funds will be allocated to accelerate the adoption of regenerative farming practices in Illinois, increasing statewide adoption of cover crops and no-till.

DEKALB, Ill. – Today, American Farmland Trust, the organization behind the national movement No Farms No Food®, will partner with The Nature Conservancy to provide over $100,000 for the adoption of regenerative farming practices in Illinois through enhanced partnerships, testing of innovative programs, expanding technical and financial assistance for farmers, and evaluation of the success of these efforts in reducing greenhouse gases, or GHG. The funds are from the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

“The U.S. Natural Climate Solutions Accelerator grant will provide American Farmland Trust the opportunity to accelerate the adoption of practices proven to provide climate benefits, such as cover crops, by catalyzing cooperation among public agencies and private partners around the efficient use of financial and technical assistance,” notes Kristopher Reynolds, AFT Midwest regional director. “We are excited to leverage our work with current partners to increase the adoption of regenerative farming practices in Illinois.”

“AFT’s innovative accelerator project will give Illinois’ agriculture community even more ways to understand, and account for, the myriad co-benefits soil health practices deliver. This will result in the ultimate goal—more conservation on the ground,” says Megan Baskerville, TNC Illinois ag program director.

AFT will use the COMET-Planner tool emission reduction coefficients and county level 2017 Census of Agriculture data to determine the scalable GHG mitigation potential. Over the next 15 months, this project seeks to incorporate soil carbon storage and GHG mitigation as quantifiable outcomes alongside state water quality targets, signifying a continued commitment to simultaneously achieving the goals of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and the U.S. Climate Alliance.

Through this project we hope to achieve the following:

  • Accelerate adoption of regenerative farming practices in Illinois, sequestering more than 8 million metric tonnes of CO2e during the 15-month project period.
  • Strengthen existing partner networks and outline methodologies to incorporate GHG impacts into proposed projects
  • Increase alignment of state and federal conservation funds with the practices and locations that provide the most cost-effective climate and water quality benefits and identify private partnerships to leverage existing funding

AFT will utilize existing programs such as the Saving Tomorrow’s Agricultural Resources (S.T.A.R.) Initiative and Illinois Department of Agriculture “Fall Covers for Spring Savings”
Cover Crop Premium Discount Program
to open pathways for leveraging funds from private corporations and foundations. These funds will benefit AFT’s and TNC’s partnerships including The Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Partnership, a coalition of conservation nonprofits including commodity associations and research institutions. The key to unlocking these funds lies in the ability to demonstrate the “most bang for the buck” regarding cost effective environmental outcomes.

AFT will track practices implemented and quantify the GHG impacts from project activities alongside soil health and water quality co-benefits, providing a prioritization framework to guide future program implementation and prioritization of regenerative agriculture practices at the field level.

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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 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

 

About the Author
April Ann Opatik Murray

Midwest Communications Coordinator

aopatik@farmland.org

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