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Climate task force, local agriculture on same page

When Governor Tony Evers’ Task Force on Climate Change released its report earlier this month, many of the suggestions looked familiar to producer-led watershed groups like Peninsula Pride Farms. The report showed the agriculture sector accounting for 15 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. It also pointed to intensified agriculture as one of the reasons the state’s carbon-sequestering forests and natural lands lost 25 percent of their carbon sink capability between 2005 and 2017. Without them, there is a higher amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is a major contributor to greenhouse gases. The task force recommended farmers get paid for increasing their soil carbon storage, avoid converting more natural working lands, and make managed grazing livestock production systems a priority. Some of this would increase incentives for practices like cover cropping and reduced tillage. Both are things Peninsula Pride Farms members have been experimenting with and have been encouraging other farmers to do over the last five years. Peninsula Pride Farms President Don Niles is happy to see that farmers are not chasing improved environmental practices, but rather help set them.

Niles says they still have plenty to learn about how they can be better stewards for the land they work. Interseeding cover crops and creating grass waterways were some of the soil conservation practices introduced to members this year at field days. Niles adds that the good weather this year allowed more farmers to try out some new techniques and sets the stage for more continuous learning in the future.

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Cheryl Jome

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