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Improving Soil Health for Climate Change Resiliency

800 451 Stroud Water Research Center

In this video from the Chesapeake Bay Program, Lisa Blazure and PA No-Till Alliance farmer, Jim Harbach, explain how improving soil health can make agricultural soils more resilient to the changing climate patterns.

Blazure is the newest member of the Robin L. Vannote Watershed Restoration Program. She brings to Stroud Water Research Center a deep understanding of how improving agricultural soil health can result in less stormwater runoff, healthier streams, fewer fertilizer inputs, and carbon capture to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels.

Chesapeake Climate: Regenerative Farming from Chesapeake Bay Program on Vimeo.

Video description retrieved from https://vimeo.com/407770174 on 06 May 2020:
Jim Harbach operates Schrack Farms Resources with his brother-in-law Kevin Schrack in Clinton County, Pennsylvania. Having practiced no-till farming for 30 years, and in recent decades adopting the use of cover crops, Harbach sees the benefits of these conservation practices to his harvest yields as well as the soil.

Harbach has documented how his soils can better withstand the extreme weather swings associated with climate change. The increased organic matter in Harbach’s fields soaks up runoff before it pollutes nearby Fishing Creek, which is a class A wild trout stream. The soil also sequesters more carbon.

Rather than referring to the farm’s soil health practices as sustainable, Harbach describes his approach as regenerative farming. The goal is to not only maintain the soil, but continually improve it.

Schrack Farms, which is part of the No-Till Alliance, also was an early adopter of a methane biodigester to generate electricity and reduce emissions. In 2018, the farm was named Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year by the International Dairy Foods Association and Dairy Herd Management magazine.

Video: Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program

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