When it comes to combating climate change, it’s all hands on deck — and farmers can play a big role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of farming techniques that also benefit the soil and surrounding water quality.
What's at stake?
Conventional farming practices, such as frequent plowing and tilling, release carbon into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. They also cause erosion, harming soil health and surrounding water quality.
By adopting regenerative farming practices — such as no-till, diversifying crops, and rotating and deploying cover crops — farmers not only keep greenhouse gases in the ground but also make their lands more productive and resilient to climate impacts.
In addition, healthy and carbon-rich soils reduce the need to apply fertilizers that can run off and pollute nearby streams and drinking-water supplies.
What we're doing
Complementing our work in farmland conservation and building on our efforts to make the Hudson Valley more resilient to the impacts of climate change, we’ve ramped up our collaboration with farmers and land trust partners to encourage the use of no-till and other regenerative agricultural techniques.
We are advocating for the unique concerns of Northeastern farmers and asking for more resources for small and mid-sized farms in the U.S. Farm Bill.
We helped found the Northeast Carbon Alliance (NECA) in 2019 to advance the rapid implementation of greenhouse gas sequestration through regenerative land management. It consists of a dynamic group of farmers, land managers, scientists, policy professionals, as well as other stakeholders working together. Learn more about NECA here.
We worked to author and pass the Soil Health and Climate Resiliency Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul in 2021 and takes the visionary step of defining healthy soils and promoting the practices that create them. The established soil health and climate-resilient farming initiatives are essential to addressing climate change on farms and securing the economic viability of agriculture.
Finally, we are working with the many stakeholders who are engaged in the Carbon Farming Pilot Study, focused on 20 Hudson Valley farms that are implementing regenerative farming and documenting their findings. With our local and regional partners, we’re developing and implementing voluntary soil health standards that will guide on-the-ground decisions across New York State. We are grateful for the support and partnership of Assemblymembers Didi Barrett and Donna Lupardo, and Senator Michelle Hinchey in this process and for their critical work on the Soil Health and Climate Resiliency Act.
Learn more about this type of farming and how we’re supporting it in our report, The Climate-Resilient Agriculture Initiative: Cultivating Climate Solutions in the Hudson Valley.