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Provided photo of previous golf tournament Summer 2020 Central Coast A Special Adver tising Supplement to Monterey Herald and Santa Cruz Sentinel July 31, 2020 Building Resiliency in the Face of Climate Change by Vicki Lowell, Communications Manager, Organic Farming Research Foundation Climate change threatens agriculture and food security across the U.S. and around the world. Rising tempera- tures have already intensi- fied droughts, heat waves, and storms, and altered life cycles and geographical ranges of pests, weeds, and pathogens— making it hard- er to grow crops and raise livestock. Here in the U.S., flood- ing le farm fields in the Midwest under water last spring. In the West, farmers and ranchers were deal- ing with the aermath of record-breaking wildfires intensified by increasingly warm and dry weather. At the same time, growers across the Southeast were working to recover from devastating hurricanes and tropical storms. Increasing in frequency, these intense rainstorms aggravate soil erosion and complicate water manage- ment, while higher tempera- tures accelerate the oxida- tion of soil organic matter. Warming climates affect crop development regulated by growing degree-days or "chill hours," and threaten production of perennial fruit and nut crops that have strict chilling requirements to initiate growth and fruit set. The good news is that organic systems that em- phasize soil health not only protect soil life from the potentially adverse effects of synthetic pesticides, her- bicides, and fertilizers, they also help increase resilience to the impacts of climate change. There is extensive research demonstrating the potential of organic sys- tems to reduce agriculture's contribution to climate change (i.e., mitigate cli- mate change). The real value of organ- ic systems in mitigating climate change comes from adopting agroecological and sustainable crop intensifi- cation practices, such as tight crop rotations, cover cropping, intercropping, and living mulches, integrat- ing perennial crops and habitat plantings, manage- ment-intensive rotational grazing, and crop-livestock integration. The Role of Soil Health Research validates the four principles of soil health put forward by the National Resources Conservation Services (NRCS)—keep soil cov- ered, maintain living roots, enhance biodiversity, and minimize disturbance—as guidelines for maximizing carbon sequestration in the form of soil organic carbon (SOC). Soil is the foundation for plant life and is the farmer's most precious natural resource. Keeping the soil covered reduces the chances that topsoil will be lost to wind or water erosion. Planting cover crops and keeping plant residues in the field are good methods for protecting the soil. Plant roots not only help to hold soil in place, but they also provide food and habitat for beneficial soil life. These roots also help trap carbon deep in the soil, making it harder for it to re-enter the atmo- sphere. In annual crops like tomatoes or corn, planting cover crops aer the grow- ing season is an effective method for making sure roots are present throughout the year and that soil life doesn't go hungry. Maintaining biodiversity in organic systems is key to controlling pests and diseas- es, as well as maintaining soil health. For example, the roots of different crop species provide food for dif- ferent kinds of beneficial soil microorganisms. Farmers can enhance biodiversity in a number of ways, such as growing different crop spe- cies together in a field (in- tercropping) or by planting different crop species aer one another (crop rotations). Minimizing soil disturbance not only helps keep carbon and other greenhouse gases trapped in the ground, but it also protects beneficial soil life that helps make nutrients available to crops. Farmers can minimize soil disturbance by practicing reduced and/or conserva- tion tillage, which limits the frequency and intensity with which farmers turn over the soil. The Need for Increased Investment in Organic Research As a science-based "When we needed business �inancing, our Bank listened to and met all of our needs. Thanks to their expertise and commitment, we have realized our ultimate vision for our company." - Julie Oliver, C&N Tractor How Can We Grow Your Business? 457.5000 | sccountybank.com • APTOS • CAPITOLA • CUPERTINO • SANTA CRUZ • SCOTTS VALLEY • WATSONVILLE • MONTEREY COMING SOON! Member FDIC Equal Housing Lender Al Smith Friend of Agriculture Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau & Agri-Culture annual golf tournament The Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau and Agri-Culture are hosting their 27th Annual Golf Tournament on Wednesday, August 26th at the Seascape Golf Club in Aptos. Due to the restrictions surrounding Covid-19, the format for this year's tournament will be slightly altered, but will still be a fun event. Single golfers can sign up for $225. All players will receive tee prizes, lunch, and a gi certificate to a local restaurant. There will be special player contests on the course as well as raffle prizes that will be distributed to the winners as they finish play. Sponsorship opportunities are available. If you are interested in supporting this event as a player or a sponsor, please contact the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau office by calling (831) 724-1356 or via e-mail to sccfb@sbcglobal.net. Registration can be completed online at www.Eventbrite.com (search 27th Annual Golf Tournament in Aptos.) organization, the Organic Farming Research Foun- dation (OFRF) works to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems by cultivating organic research, education, and federal poli- cies that bring more farmers and acreage into organic production. In 2018, OFRF released the eighth guidebook in its Soil Health and Organic Farming Series. Organic Practices for Climate Mitigation, Adap- tation, and Carbon Seques- tration examines research related to the capacity of sustainable organic systems and practices to sequester soil carbon and minimize nitrous oxide and meth- ane emissions. The guide includes practical advice for reducing an organic farm's "carbon footprint" and adapting to climate disrup- tions already underway. While this growing body of research demonstrates the potential of organic agricul- tural practices to mitigate climate change and enhance farm resilience, there is a need to increase outreach and dissemination of these best practices to organic producers, and increase our investment in research and federal policies that address the socio-economic and logistical barriers to scaling organic production in the U.S. New Digital Toolkit for Climate Advocacy In April, OFRF launched a new digital toolkit on our website at ofrf.org that provides opportunities to learn, share, and help build the movement to create a more sustainable agricul- ture system. Our goal is to encourage more consumers to purchase organic food and increase demand so that together we can expand organic acres to: • Capture and store more carbon in the soil for longer. o The most practical and cost-effective way to re- move excess carbon (CO2) from the atmosphere is through living plants and soils. While organic systems require some level of phys- ical disturbance to control weeds, they eliminate synthetic inputs and can significantly reduce tillage. Reduced tillage, crop diver- sification, cover cropping, organic amendments, and sound nutrient manage- ment can enhance carbon sequestration and build climate resiliency in organic agricultural systems. • Release fewer greenhouse gases. o Organic farmers do not use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, one of the primary contributors of greenhouse gases. Healthy soils help crops obtain nitrogen, phos- phorus, and other nutrients from organic soil organic matter. This reduces the need for fertilizers that can threaten water quality and minimizes the release of greenhouse gases from soils. • Help farmers and ranchers increase resilience to rising temperatures and intensified droughts and rain events that make it more challeng- ing to grow crops and raise livestock. o Healthy soils form the foundation of organic pro- duction. Healthy soils have good structure (tilth), which allows them to absorb and hold moisture, drain well, maintain adequate aeration, and foster deep, healthy crop root systems. Such soils sustain crops through dry spells, require less irriga- tion water, and undergo less ponding, runoff, and erosion during heavy rains. The initial calls-to-action are to share the toolkit and buy organic. In the coming months, we will be offering opportunities to join us as an advocate for programs and policies that encourage the growth of the organic indus- try on a federal level. All of OFRF's research re- sults and educational mate- rials are available at ofrf.org. For updates on the latest in organic research, education, and advocacy, sign up for our monthly newsletter by visiting ofrf.org.

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