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Pennsylvania Ag News Headlines
Farmers fight climate change
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 03/28/2024

American farmers like Josh Daniels are not only putting food on our tables, but also playing a role in combating climate change. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, the USDA has additional funding to support farmers in adopting climate-friendly practices.

Josh, a multi-generational farmer in Pennsylvania, has been working with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for years. This new funding will allow him to implement further sustainable practices on his farm.

The NRCS provides financial assistance through programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). With his new EQIP contract, Josh plans to establish field borders to reduce water runoff, create pollinator habitats, and maintain wildlife cover. These practices not only benefit the environment but also contribute to the long-term health of his farm.

Josh's dedication to sustainability began at a young age on his family farm. After serving in the military, he returned home and partnered with his father to implement sustainable practices with the help of NRCS. Together, they adopted techniques like cover cropping, which improves soil health and reduces reliance on fertilizers.

Today, Josh runs a thriving farm, raising corn, soybeans, hay, beef cattle, and ducks. He continues to collaborate with NRCS to explore new conservation methods. His recent projects include installing cattle crossings to protect streams and a facility to store manure, a valuable fertilizer.

Over the years, Josh has witnessed the positive impact of these conservation efforts. Water quality has improved, with less manure runoff into waterways. Planting buffer strips along streams has further enhanced water clarity. Cover crops have boosted soil health by increasing organic matter and nutrient retention, leading to reduced fertilizer use.

For Josh, collaborating with NRCS has been a rewarding experience. The process is straightforward, and the guidance provided by NRCS allows him to experiment with new techniques. He believes this approach has helped him grow as a farmer and is optimistic about the long-term benefits of the new projects funded by the Inflation Reduction Act.

These projects, like planting grass strips and creating pollinator habitats, capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil. By minimizing soil disturbance through practices like no-till farming and cover cropping, Josh's farm contributes to mitigating climate change. In his words, "the more we can grow green and not disturb the soil, the better."

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