The Nature Conservancy

Two Midwest Farmers Grow Climate Solutions On Working Lands

Farmers can sequester more carbon, increase productivity

The agriculture community is on the front lines of one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time: climate change. Year after year, farmers endure chronic droughts, flooding, record high temperatures, frequent storm events and significant economic losses. These impacts make it harder for producers to support their families and, in turn, provide food for a growing global population. 

Yet farmers are drawing on their rich heritage and passion for stewardship to navigate a changing climate while leaving a legacy to the next generation, as illustrated in The Nature Conservancy’s three-part video series featuring two Midwest farming families.

Food production is the most basic and essential way people interact with nature, so it’s no surprise that the agriculture industry is poised to play a major role in combating a climate change. Farmers have enormous opportunities to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while ensuring the long-term resilience and profitability of their operations. 

In the three videos below, meet Elyssa McFarland and Fred Yoder, two farmers embracing regenerative practices to build soil health, reduce GHG emissions and leave a lasting legacy. By trying new techniques and investing in their land, they’re discovering the potential of ag lands assome of Earth’s largest natural reservoirs of carbon.

Soil Legacy: Farming for a Stable Climate

The soil health practices farmers use today can impact the resiliency and  productivity of their land for generations to come. What’s your soil legacy?

The Back Forty

Conservation farming practices don’t come in a one-size-fits-all package. The opportunity is finding out which practices work best on individual farms by testing new and different techniques—even some that might make you uncomfortable. 

Leaving Things Better

Family farms make up 98% of all U.S. operations. Learn why these farmers are hopeful each new generation will leave the land in better condition than when they received it.

When farmers use conservation practices (e.g., cover crops, no-till and crop rotation), they retain existing carbon sinks and draw more carbon out of the atmosphere and into the soil. Increased soil carbon sequestration helps restore degraded soils, improves holding capacity for water and nutrients that plants need to grow, and increases productivity.

This article was originally published on Farm Journal.

For more information about how agriculture holds the key to addressing climate change, visit or USN4C’s Agricultural Lands Natural Climate Solutions Pathways.