Crops, livestock, and soil are highly vulnerable to the increasingly severe weather—including frequent heavy rainfalls and prolonged droughts, record-breaking heat spells and unseasonal freezes—as well as evolving pest and disease patterns brought by a warming planet.
Farmers also possess an intimate understanding of the effects of climate change, and have the ability to make a substantial contribution to climate mitigation. Agriculture currently accounts for 10% of all greenhouse gasses emitted in the U.S. Studies from Rodale and other institutions suggest farms and ranches that improve soil and woodland carbon capture can trap greenhouse gasses at much higher levels than they now emit, and become part of the solution. Through our education and research programs, we seek to better understand how climate change is affecting the foundation of any farm—soil—and what actions farmers can take to improve resilience to severe and unpredictable weather.
Small- and medium-scale farmers across the country must be included as essential partners in state and federal efforts to address the climate crisis. We advocate for rewarding and compensating farmers for their climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, which help protect their communities using relatively low-cost but effective strategies like sequestering carbon, building soil health, and integrating more trees into farms and ranches through practices like riparian buffers, silvopasture, and alley cropping.