AmericaSpeaks TheVoiceOfJoyce Growing crops in unpredictable weather conditions requires data science and patience. Not every field is the same in the Rio Grande Valley and cover crops putting nitrogen and water back into the land are the goal. Going back to ancient farming techniques, preserves crop land. Perhaps, adding solar panels to the fields, would further trap moisture in the air? Can AI data collection help? Heritage farming always existed and now we’re experimenting and using the techniques again. In Israel, every 7 th year fields remain fallow, allowing for regeneration of their nutrients. Solutions exist and it’s up to us to experiment wisely. (Note: weaning ourselves off Fossil Fuels, would help stabilize our climate and add back predictability)

The latest boost comes via the Inflation Reduction Act which includes $20bn to help farmers implement climate-smart agricultural practices like cover cropping and reduced tillage, and crop rotation to improve resilience to rapidly changing climate conditions – and reduce the sector’s greenhouse gas footprint.

Cover cropping was used by farmers to improve soil health in ancient China and India, the Roman empire, and by both Indigenous Americans and the founding fathers – in fact the practice was commonplace in farming globally including the US until the Green Revolution ushered in widespread use of monocrops, synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.

Cover cropping has been used by farmers since antiquity.

It’s the hot new (old) thing, as cover crops sequester carbon from the atmosphere and can boost climate flexibility by absorbing excess water when it rains too much or holding onto it during drier periods.

In the RGV, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a USDA agency, can use IRA funds to pay farmers $37 per acre to plant cover crops on up 1,000 acres through 2026 – or a smaller fee to landowners to establish cover crops with renters.

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