Maggie McQuown: “Healthy, living soil is the true commodity in agriculture”

Here’s another Climate Land Leader’s take on the prompt, if you had just minutes to talk about climate change and agriculture, what are 5 points you’d want to convey? Maggie McQuown and her husband Steve Turman steward 170 acres of farmland in southwest Iowa, where they continue to implement a variety of natural and working lands conservation practices.

Steve Turman and Maggie McQuown of Resilient Farms outside Red Oak, IA

Maggie McQuown’s 5 Things to Know About Climate Change and Agriculture:

  1. Planting trees does not mean you are taking that land out of agricultural production since many cropping systems rely on trees, e.g., fruit/nut crops, alley cropping, or agroforestry rotational grazing.
  2. Healthy, living soil is the true commodity in agriculture, so we need to shift our focus away from annual yields and crop prices.
  3. Year-round living roots in the soil — either as perennial pasture, prairie, or cover crop — feed the ongoing microbial carbon cycle.
  4. Boldly follow your own moral compass regardless of naysayers around you.
  5. Consider ALL inputs and ancillary carbon emissions when evaluating carbon solutions. If the solution doesn’t achieve “net zero,” then it is most likely a bandaid or worse for the planet long term. (This points to the shortcomings of CO2 sequestration pipelines as a solution.)