Fwd: Conference - The Carbon Ranch: Using Food and Stewardship to Build Soil and Fight Climate Change
- This conference is a step toward switching our food production back
to solar energy. Since 1940, it went from half a calorie fossil fuel
to produce a calorie of food to 10 calories of fossil fuel for each
calorie of food. 20 times more. 1% of global energy is used to
produce nitrogen for chemical fertilizers. Another huge amount to
make synthetic potassium. 50% of nitrogen is now imported and 80% of
Resolarizing our food production would not only wean us off of
increasingly expensive fossil fuels but also improve soil fertility,
improve food quality, add to food security, and could sequester huge
amounts of carbon in the soils.
>The Quivira Coalition's 9th Annual ConferenceNan Hildreth, Houston
>November 10-12, Albuquerque, NM
>Embassy Suites Hotel
>"The Carbon Ranch: Using Food and Stewardship to
>Build Soil and Fight Climate Change."
>Climate change is the most pressing issue confronting humanity. It
>is also a tremendous opportunity. Right now, the only possibility of
>large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is
>through plant photosynthesis and other land-based carbon
>sequestration activities. Strategies include: enriching soil carbon,
>farming with perennials, employing climate-friendly livestock
>practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds
>and rangelands, and producing local food. Over the past decade, many
>of these strategies have been demonstrated to be both practical and
>profitable. A carbon ranch bundles them into an economic whole with
>the aim of creating climate-friendly landscapes that are both
>healthy ecologically and the source of healthy food. In this
>conference we will explore this exciting new frontier and learn from
>`carbon pioneers' from around the world.
>Background: A United Nations report released in 2006 titled
>"Livestock's Long Shadow" identified the livestock industry as a
>significant contributor to climate change. The report determined
>"that livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas
>emissions, a bigger share than that of transport." This was due to:
>chemical fertilizer production, deforestation for pasture,
>cultivation of feed crops (corn), feed transport, animal production
>(fermentation and methane and nitrous oxide emissions) and the
>transportation of animal products. The report estimates that
>livestock contributes to about 9% of total anthropogenic carbon
>dioxide emissions, but 37% of methane and 65% of nitrous oxide emissions.
>Author Michael Pollan put the problem this way: "We transformed a
>system that in 1940 produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every
>calorie of fossil-fuel energy it used into one that now takes 10
>calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce a single calorie of modern
>supermarket food. Put another way, when we eat from the industrial
>food system, we are eating oil and spewing greenhouse gases."
>The answer, Pollan says, is to "resolarize" the American economy -
>which means weaning Americans off their heavy 20th-century diet of
>fossil fuel and put them back on a diet of contemporary sunshine.
>"If any part of the modern economy can be freed from its dependence
>on oil and successfully resolarized," Pollan writes, "surely it is food."
>We believe cattle production, done on grass at a local scale in
>combination with conservation practices that improve land health and
>sequester carbon, can be "solarized" relatively easily. The key is
>to make it economic, and thus replicable.
>The Carbon Ranch Model: Our three-part model combines ecological and
>1) Progressive Cattle Management: Over the past twenty years, a
>suite of innovative management methods have been developed worldwide
>that employ livestock as conservation agents, including noxious weed
>eradication, "herd effect," planned grazing strategies, and
>low-stress livestock handling (collectively we call it `The New
>Ranch'). Increased land health leads to increased grass cover which
>leads to increased carbon sequestration.
>2) Local Grassfed Beef: Animals raised on grass, processed nearby
>and consumed in a local community, have a small carbon footprint
>compared to commodity livestock production (there is some debate in
>the literature about the trade-off of `food miles' and increased
>methane production that results when cows eat grass). Grassfed beef
>is also viewed as healthier than feedlot beef (corn-based) by many
>researchers and members of the public.
>3) Conservation Practices that Improve Ecosystem Function : Much of
>the arid West exists in a degraded ecological condition. In recent
>years, a suite of restoration methodologies have been developed that
>improve ecosystem function, including: the riparian restoration
>strategies pioneered by Bill Zeedyk, water harvesting from improved
>rural roads, and upland erosion mitigation. These (non-cattle)
>conservation practices improve land health and thus contribute to
>Our 9th Annual Conference: A carbon ranch reduces its carbon
>footprint, enriches its soil, maintains a healthy carbon cycle,
>conserves natural habitat, restores degraded watersheds, and
>provides climate-friendly co-benefits, including grassfed meat.
>The Quivira Coalition's 9th Annual Conference
>November 10-12th, 2010, in Albuquerque, New Mexico
>"The Carbon Ranch: Using Food and Stewardship
>to Build Soil and Fight Climate Change."
>All lunches are included with your registration
>Wednesday, November 10
>Pre-Conference Workshop: Improving the Carbon Cycle on Your Land
>8:30 - Noon (10-10:30 Break)
>"Bringing Life Back to Your Land: moisture, microbes, and climate change"
>Craig Sponholtz, <http://www.drylandsolutions.com/>Dryland
>Solutions, Inc. and Doug Weatherbee, <http://www.soildoctor.org/>Soil Doctor
>In recent years there have been many parallel developments in the
>fields of watershed restoration and soil microbiology. It is
>apparent that there are numerous opportunities for these fields to
>intersect and integrate in ways that have yet to be discovered. This
>combination promises to dramatically increase the productivity of
>degraded rangelands through the use large-scale hydration of the
>landscape and targeted improvements to soil microbiology. We will
>introduce ways that virtually any landowner can integrate land
>management practices such as erosion control, tree thinning and
>re-vegetation with small scale composting and compost tea
>production. Our discussion will include practices that will lead to
>improvements in soil moisture, microbiology, productivity,
>sequestration of Carbon and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Our
>goal is generate further interest and application by landowners.
>1:30-5:00 (3-3:30 Break)
>Greg Judy, rancher and 'mob-grazing' educator, Missouri
>Since switching from Management Intensive Grazing to Holistic High
>Density Planned Grazing four years ago, Greg and Jan Judy have
>doubled their stocking rates. Within the next two years they will
>have to double their cow numbers again to eat all the forage. By
>concentrating on trampling litter everyday, which feeds the soil
>microbes and earthworms, the forages on Judy farms have exploded.
>They use no lime, no fertilizer, no seeding, no chemicals, no
>equipment. The Judys focus solely on increasing animal density,
>monitoring animal performance and full recovery periods between
>grazings. The pastures feel like sponges when you walk on them, the
>previously dry creeks have started flowing again. Earthworm castings
>cover the soils throughout the farms. The Judys have found that
>ranching can be very profitable when they follow what worked perfect
>for centuries in nature.
>Annual Meeting of the Southwest Grassfed Livestock Alliance (SWGLA)
>in the Sierra Room
>Open to all. Includes dinner w/ suggested donation of $15.
>RSVP to Laurie at 970-390-5597 or
>Special Evening Event: 7-9:00 - Sandia Ballroom
>Opening Presentation: Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations
>by Dr. David Montgomery, University of Washington
>This talk will highlight the role dirt plays in the rise and fall of
>Thursday, November 11 - Sandia Ballroom
>8:15-8:30 Introduction by Courtney White about Conference goals
>Session I: A global perspective
>"Mitigating Climate Change Through Food and Land Use."
>Sara Scherr, Ecoagriculture Partners, Washington, D.C.
>"Livestock, Landscapes and Livelihoods: the contribution of global
>grazing-lands to climate change mitigation and adaptation."
>Constance Neely, consultant, Nairobi, Kenya
>Session II: Case Study / the Marin Carbon Project
>"Range Science and Range Management: Finding Common Ground."
>John Wick, rancher and Director of the Marin Carbon Project, California
>Dr. Jeffry Creque, researcher, California
>1:30 Keynote Address:
>"Soil building through microbial pathways: mechanisms for soil
>Dr. Christine Jones, Founder of the Australian Soil Carbon
>Session III: Putting It To Work
>"Healing The World With Holistic High Density Grazing."
>Greg Judy, rancher and 'mob-grazing' educator, Missouri
>"Organic Management Strategies to Improve Soil Health and Carbon
>Jeff Moyer, Farm Director for the Rodale Institute, Pennsylvania
>5:30-7:30 Currier Award Ceremony - Sierra Room
>The Michael S. Currier Environmental Service Award, administered by
>the New Mexico Community Foundation and sponsored by the Thaw
>Charitable Trust, honors individuals for their contributions to the
>environmental health of the American Southwest. This year the award
>will be presented to Courtney White, author and co-Founder of the
>Quivira Coalition at a reception and ceremony with wine and hors d'
>oeuvres. A production by award winning documentarian Jack Loeffler,
>will highlight the success of Courtney's contribution to the health
>of working landscapes in the American Southwest. Seating is limited
>to the capacity of the room
>Friday, November 12 - Sandia Ballroom
>Session IV: The Urban Perspective
>"Underground Economics: Making Markets to Solve Cities' Problems
>Through Soil Formation."
>Abe Collins, New Soil Matrix, Inc. and New Soil Quantum, Inc., Vermont
>"A Watershed Perspective"
>Brock Dolman, Director of the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center, California
>Session V: Case Study / The Ranney Ranch
>"Working with Carbon: The Interplay of Range Management, Grassfed
>Beef, Wind and Biomass,"
>Nancy Ranney, Ranney Ranch Grassfed Beef, New Mexico
>Steven Apfelbaum, Applied Ecological Services, Wisconsin
>Session VI: Putting It All Together
>"Sequestering Carbon for the Carbon Market: Doing it and Proving it"
>Dr. Bill Chameides, Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment,
>Duke U., North Carolina
>"Carbon Ranching and Agrarianism: the Emerging Fifth Wave of
>Conservation in America."
>Courtney White, The Quivira Coalition, New Mexico
>3:30 - 5pm
>Special Session:Young Agrarians Respond to the Challenge of Climate Change
>A Dialogue with Conference Speakers and Audience Members
>Moderator: Severine von Tscharner
>6:30pm - Burch Award Banquet - Sierra Room
>The $20,000 Burch award will be presented to The Altar Valley
>Conservation Alliance and The Quivira Coalition Radical Center
>Awards for; Ranching, Conservation, Civil Service and Research. (to
>This meal will be all local with donated grassfed beef (vegetarians
>will be accommodated).
>"Rapid topsoil formation is the greatest priority and the greatest
>opportunity of our time".
>- Abe Collins, Carbon Farmers of America.
"We transformed a system that in 1940 produced 2.3 calories of food
energy for every calorie of fossil-fuel energy it used into one that
now takes 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce a single
calorie of modern supermarket food. Put another way, when we eat from
the industrial food system, we are eating oil and spewing greenhouse
gases." The answer is to "resolarize" the American economy - which
means weaning Americans off their heavy 20th-century diet of fossil
fuel and put them back on a diet of ... sunshine. "If any part of the
modern economy can be freed from its dependence on oil and
successfully resolarized, surely it is food." - Michael Pollan, author