- Farmers using more conservation techniques despite lower enrollment in federal programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's recently released 2017 Census of Agriculture data show the amount of land in the largest federal conservation programs has decreased nationwide and in many Midwest and Plains states. But that doesn't mean farmers are ignoring soil health, nutrient runoff, or erosion problems.
- Half of all land must be kept in a natural state to protect Earth
World leaders must increase their commitments to conserving land and water, and quickly, if a stable climate and high quality of life are to be preserved in the near future, a new scientific study argues. Countries should double their protected zones to 30 percent of the Earth’s land area, and add 20 percent more as climate stabilization areas, for a total of 50 percent of all land kept in a natural state, scientists conclude. All of this needs to be done by 2030 to have a real hope of keeping climate change under the "danger zone" target of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit and to prevent the world's ecosystems from unravelling — according to an ambitious plan called the Global Deal for Nature.
- Bees inspire ideas for protecting indigenous and local conservation practices
When it comes to conservation, it's tempting to think that science is the only guide to good policy. But biodiversity is linked to culture, argues a new study on pollinator conservation recently published in Nature Sustainability, so we should embrace a diversity of knowledge systems, acknowledging both academic science and traditional cultural practices.
- Getting fertilizer in the right place at the right rate
We've all heard about the magical combination of being in the right place at the right time. Well for fertilizer, it's more accurate to say it should be in the right place at the right rate. A group of Canadian scientists wanted to find the perfect combination for farmers in their northern prairies.
- Protecting small farms in Mozambique from drought
Jonathan Malacarne, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Davis, is part of a team of agricultural economists testing whether insured maize seeds can increase food security for farmers who regularly risk losing crops to extreme weather. In Mozambique, this includes flooding from a rare but catastrophic cyclone like Idai in 2019 but is more likely to be extreme drought that can strike in any year.
- 'It's a groundswell': The farmers fighting to save the Earth's soil
There is a growing army of U.K. farmers who are turning their back on the plow — and centuries of farming tradition — in an effort to tackle a little-noticed but potentially devastating environmental crisis: the degradation of the Earth's soil. The U.N. has warned that soils around the world are heading for exhaustion and depletion, with an estimated 60 harvests left before they are too barren to feed the planet.
- Sustainable way to increase seed oil yield in crops
Scientists have developed a sustainable way to demonstrate a new genetic modification that can increase the yield of natural oil in seeds by up to 15% in laboratory conditions. The new method can be applied to crops such as canola, soybean, and sunflower, which are in a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to see increasing global demand.
- Designing water infrastructure for climate uncertainty
In Kenya's second largest city, Mombasa, the demand for water is expected to double by 2035 to an estimated 300,000 cubic meters per day. In Mombasa's current warm and humid climate, that water comes from a substantial volume of precipitation that may also change significantly as the region warms in the coming decades in line with global climate model projections.
- 4 ways to boost conservation
The list of challenges facing agriculture is substantial. Climate change has increased the occurrence of extreme weather. Declining public connection to agriculture has contributed to misunderstandings about how food is grown and raised. Economic shifts have put the financial health of operations of all sizes in jeopardy. Yet you continue to adapt to ensure you are managing your resources, which includes finances, land, and water. Here are four ways you can prioritize conservation agriculture in the months ahead to create the possibility for greater profitability, better soil and water, and improved relationships with your landowners.
- UC Cooperative Extension ramps up its climate change response
Each year, a diverse group of UC Agriculture and Natural Resourcesacademics and program implementation professionals meet to share and collect the latest climate change experiences, ideas, science and solutions. The team works with farmers across the state to improve production practices and minimize environmental impact, conduct agricultural and natural resources conservation research, and coordinate programs.