Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

We inspire and partner with our community to protect the natural resources and agricultural future of our District.


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Carbon Farming: Harnessing The Power of The Soil

John Wick, co-founder of the Marin Carbon Project, was just trying to find a way to get rid of weeds on his ranch when he stumbled upon a powerful climate change solution. He learned about an approach to farming helps sequester carbon in the soil.

Credits:

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: JOEL BACH, DAVID GELBER and DREW MAGRATTEN

WRITER: JOEL BACH

SCRIPT EDITORS: JOEL BACH, JOSH FUTTERSAK, DAVID GELBER, MAYA LILLY, DREW MAGRATTEN and MATT ROSENBAUM

VIDEO EDITOR: ETHAN DAVID

Sources: [i] Drovers.com. How rotational grazing improves pasture health. April 19 2016. https://www.drovers.com/article/how-r…

[ia] MALT.org. Carbon Farming. Accessed: Mar 29 2019. https://www.malt.org/protected-lands/…

[ii] PubMed.Gov. Greenhouse gas emissions from liquid dairy manure: Prediction and mitigation. Jul 18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2…

[iii] MarinCarbobProject.org. Compost. Accessed: Mar 29 2019. https://www.marincarbonproject.org/co…

[iv] EPA.Gov. Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data. Accessed: Mar 29 2019. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/glob…

 


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Change on the Range: Is a New Generation of Young, Female Ranchers Ready to Adapt to Climate Change?

Female rancher in field

First-generation grazier Ariel Greenwood manages cattle and land on Freestone Ranch in Sonoma County. UC Davis graduate student Kate Munden-Dixon is surveying new rangeland managers like Greenwood to make sure they have the resources they need to thrive. (photo Brittany App/Brittany App Photography)

A new breed of ranchers is bringing diverse demographics and unique needs to rangeland management in California. These first-generation ranchers are often young, female and less likely to, in fact, own a ranch. But like more traditional rangeland managers, this new generation holds a deep love for the lifestyle and landscapes that provide a wealth of public benefit to California and the world.

“When first-generation ranchers succeed, we all succeed,” says Kate Munden-Dixon, a Ph.D. student working with Leslie Roche, Cooperative Extension rangeland specialist with the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences.

Munden-Dixon and Roche recently discovered that many new livestock managers aren’t plugged into information networks such as UC Cooperative Extension and rancher coalitions that provide science and strategies for making sustainable rangeland management decisions. This lack of connection can make first-generation ranchers more vulnerable when dealing with challenges like drought and climate variability, according to their study findings, which was recently published in Rangeland Journal.

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Source:  Ann Filmer, October 16, 2018.  UC Davis, Department of Plant Sciences – College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.


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1 million species face extinction — soil could be a solution

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An intergovernmental science-policy group of the United Nations found — and the United States agreed — that 1 million species are threatened with extinction, and that one factor in that decline was the decline of carbon in soil. Specifically, 5.6 gigatons of annual CO2 emissions are sequestered in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. That’s equivalent to 60 percent of global fossil fuel emission.

The finding released in a report May 6 also found that it is not too late to stop this decline, but action is needed immediately at the local, country, and global level. For soil, it proposed “sustainable agricultural practices that enhance soil quality, thereby improving productivity and other ecosystem functions and services such as carbon sequestration and water quality regulation.”

Bill Gates highlighted the importance of soil in a recent blog post arguing, “We should discuss soil as much as we talk about coal.” He notes that agriculture’s contribution to climate change (24 percent) is about the same as the generation of electricity (25 percent). What also might surprise you is that “there’s more carbon in soil than in the atmosphere and all plants combined.” Gates identifies several additional technical options he is backing, including developing crops, like wheat, with longer and denser roots so they can store more carbon.

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Source:  Deborah D. Stine, The Hill, May 6, 2019

Deborah D. Stine is president of Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Analysis & Education, LLC based in Pittsburgh, Pa.


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Agriculture faces a scientific innovation drought

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Cattle ranches and their cowboys used to be economic anchors for our nation’s growth across North America. And they remain a way of life for much of the High Plains of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. But today, even with cattle and beef supplies increasing over the past five years, the rising price of even the most inexpensive beef products — such as hamburger meat — leaves consumers searching for more economical sources of protein.

Since 2000, the price of hamburger meat has increased at a rate more than twice that of consumer inflation. And the havoc brought by recent weather calamities in the Midwestern U.S. exacerbates current business challenges and could raise prices by as much as 50 cents a pound more.

The cattle industry is also facing the challenge of diseases like Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD), which most consumers never heard of. A combination of viral and bacterial infections that is made worse with the stress of modern production methods, BRD costs the industry almost $700 million every year. USDA estimates that BRD infects more than one out of every five beef cattle in feedlots, the intensive operations that hold cattle before being transported to the slaughterhouse.

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Source: Alan Leshner, The Hill, May 2, 2019

Alan Leshner is the CEO emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and serves on the board of the Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation.


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Maximizing Cover Crop Benefits for Growers

NRCS’s Lockeford Plant Materials Center conducts trials year-round to find plants and mixes that producers can successfully use to improve their soils. Lockeford PMC Manager Margaret Smither-Kopperl and Agronomist Valerie Bullard talk about some of their trials.

USDA-NRCS, Lockeford Plant Materials Center

PO Box 68, 21001 N. Elliott Rd.
Lockeford, CA 95237
Shipping address: 21001 North Elliott Rd.
Phone: (209) 727-5319
Fax: (844) 206-6967


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Loving a vanishing world

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The truth is that the ocean that looks so beautiful and unchanging is well on its way to becoming a vast garbage dump full of plastic and of heavy metals, where little survives but jellyfish. It will not smell the same. Its colors will change. And most sea-birds, of course, will die with it.

So I want to ask you the same question I ask myself every time I’m entranced by the beauty of this world: what does it mean to love this place? What does it mean to love anyone or anything, in a world whose vanishing is accelerating, perhaps beyond our capacity to save the things that we love most?

Knowledge is responsibility, isn’t it? If we let this world die — if we let it be slaughtered by the shockingly small number of villains who have lied to us for decades — then we become complicit, because we are the only ones with the leverage to help it live again; those who come after us will have far less ability to do so, as we have far less ability than our parents would have (had they known the truth to the degree that we do). For better and for worse, we are the ones at the intersection of knowledge and agency. So how do we best use that leverage, and how do we find the heart to keep going when the realities of loss overwhelm us?

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Source:  Emily Johnston, from the May 5, 2019 Chrysalis Symposium at OSU’s Spring Creek Project

Emily is a poet, scribe, climate activist, runner, builder. Her book, Her Animals, is out now: http://bit.ly/2FjfLLP