Farming practices aren’t changing as fast as the climate, and food production is likely to suffer, according to one expert who advocates for more sustainable or regenerative agriculture. University of Washington Professor of Geomorphology David Montgomery was the keynote speaker at this month’s 3rd Annual Soil Revolution Conference. He notes that conventional farming practices can lead to excessive soil degradation – and says combined with a rising world population and a warming climate, that could severely impact food production by the middle of this century.
And any farmer knows that once the grass is gone, soil erosion is inevitable. The director of the Iowa State Extension Service has said the average organic farm will gross $1,000 per acre this year, compared to $600 to $800 per acre for conventional farms of 2,000 acres where corn is grown.
Montgomery believes if more farmers adopted conservation practices he describes as simple and affordable, they could help mitigate the climate crisis, while increasing ag productivity.
According to Montgomery, traditional ag practices degrade the soil so slowly that it doesn’t seem like a major concern. But over generations, it dramatically affects soil fertility.
It’s estimated the planet is losing soil 10 times faster than Earth can regenerate it.