What Can We Do About It?
Finding Solutions to Climate Change
Climate change is not only a pressing issue, but it’s also becoming more widely discussed in mainstream media as the urgency of its impact heightens. In fact, Oxford Dictionary named “climate emergency” its 2019 word of the year, defined as ‘a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.’
What can we do about it?, we asked ourselves. Emissions from agriculture have been shown to contribute to climate change, but compelling research finds that agriculture can also make huge strides in solutions, too. With that in mind, we are launching two major initiatives this year that could have national—even global—impact on reversing the effects of climate change. Here’s a breakdown…
Capturing Farm Data: OpenTEAM Project
The photo above shows how thoughtful land management can trickle down (literally) into the soil. Every action a farmer takes, season after season, not only affects their yield for that year’s production cycle, but is also affecting the soil for years to come. What happens when something that’s always worked for them is now notworking, because of changing climate patterns and stronger natural disasters?
We have made tremendous technological advancements in the past century, and there are opportunities to expedite the role of technology in agriculture in an efficient way that benefits both farmers and the environment.
The role of technology in agriculture is not a new concept, and neither is using it to reverse the effects of climate change. Startups, food corporations, nonprofits, universities, and government agencies are already doing this, some by creating new record keeping tools for farmers, others providing monetary incentives for farms using regenerative practices, and more. This photo taken at Wolfe’s Neck Center is of LandPKS, a project of the USDA, showing their mobile phone app database for farmers to record and share soil health data to make better decisions about their land.
They are one of the founding OpenTEAM partners, a new initiative to provide farmers around the world with the best possible knowledge to improve soil health. With so many separate entities already working toward this goal, the power and speed of impact comes through collaboration; integrating the already incredible work happening in the field of ag tech, research and regenerative practices.
There will be a global network of “hub farms” using OpenTEAM on their farms, and Wolfe’s Neck Center will be one of them. Now, not only are we a public resource for our visitors on site, we are also a public resource for farmers, scientists, and researchers around the world.
CLICK HERE to learn more about OpenTEAM
Studying Cow Burps for the Climate
Here in Maine, our farm and coastal communities often overlap. In a time when cows are getting a finger pointing for contributing to climate change with their methane emissions, the solution could lie off the coast: seaweed.
Wolfe’s Neck Center is one of the partners in a major new study to determine the effects of seaweed in a cow’s diet on methane emissions, in hopes that a reduction could mean great strides on the effect that farming has on the environment.
The project is currently underway; Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Boothbay, Maine is leading the project and University of Vermont is testing seaweed samples to find the best species for the study. This summer, visitors here will be able to see the cows on pasture while we conduct feeding trials to measure their burps.
CLICK HERE to learn more about this project
These two significant agricultural research projects transpiring simultaneously put us in an exciting, pivotal time for the organization. While the strides may not be overt to a neighbor, day visitor, or camper, the ability to have our farm practices recorded and shared around the world—potentially informing future decisions around farming and food—advance this place that you know and love by leaps and bounds.← Back to Blog