“Oops! Sorry Millie,” Milford apologized. “This isn’t about clothes. It’s a different sort of ‘natural’, a set of procedures farmers are using to improve the soil and water and that also help soak up excessive CO2 in the atmosphere. They call these practices Natural Climate Solutions,” he continued reading. “Some sub-categories or alternative names include agroecology, regenerative agriculture, natural carbon storage, and climate-smart ag.
“It says here that some decades-old farming practices have led to problems like soil erosion and compaction, groundwater pollution and algae blooms in our ponds and lakes. But having better fertilizer and manure management, planting cover crops, using low or no-till planting techniques or pasturing herds using rotational grazing can be win-win-wins. They leave the water cleaner, reduce greenhouse gases and improve soil fertility for higher crop yields. Some farmers are even swapping annual crops for perennials; take agroforestry for example,” Milford read.
“I wish Farmer Brown would go ‘Au Naturel’” Millie mused. “Then you and I could breathe a little easier. And with a little better oxygenation,” she winked, “Ooolala! we’d feel like having more kids. The more we multiply, the healthier the soil; Brown would appreciate that! I wonder why he hasn’t tried some of this.”
“Deciding to make changes is always hard.” Milford said. “So right now only about 6% of agriculture fields in Wisconsin use cover crops even though it’s great for maintaining root systems that hold soil in place and feed us microbes. It takes education about these best practices, policies and regulations that support them and financial incentives to make trying new techniques worthwhile.
The next morning two pairs of boots stood right on top of Millie and Milford. And wouldn’t you know, Aggie A. Gent and Farmer Brown were discussing these very practices. “By golly, I’m going to give them a try,” Brown said. “Because, after all, this is the only home we’ll ever know; it’s where we’re all forever…Earthbound.”