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Breakout Session B

Agroforestry Crops for the Northeast
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As interest in agroforestry increases, farmers and landowners want to understand the commercial potential for crops that can be grown on their farms and properties. We will review the “best bets” agroforestry tree crops for northeast agroforestry systems. This will include information on commercial viability, market prices, years to yield, value-added products, and example projects.

Jono Neiger, Regenerative Design Group, Big River Chestnuts

Challenges to and Opportunities for Agroforestry in Preferential Property Tax Programs for Agriculture and Forestry
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All 50 states offer preferential property tax programs that lower the taxes paid on enrolled agricultural and/or forest lands. While agroforestry is a land-use that combines elements of both agriculture and forestry, eligibility criteria and other rules and regulations may prevent enrollment of agroforestry systems in one or more of the agricultural and forestry tax programs in a state. The overall objective of this study is to identify the current barriers to and opportunities in preferential tax policies for agroforestry systems in five states across the United States: North Carolina, Nebraska, Wisconsin, New York, and Oregon. We conduct an extensive review of state preferential property tax programs relevant for agroforestry practices, following focus group discussions with regional experts. Based on a systematic review of statutes and their supporting documents, we document a database of programs which support or prevent enrollment of agroforestry practitioners. We find that agricultural assessments welcome a mixed agriculture-forestry interface more than the preferential assessment of forestlands in the five pilot states. Forest farming and alley cropping, followed by silvopasture and shelterbelts, are the most common agroforestry practices allowed under preferential classifications in the study area. State programs without strict acreage, income, and productivity requirements may favor agroforestry practices. Inclusion of agroforestry in preferential assessments may facilitate knowledge transfer to potential practitioners, impact the profitability of mixed land-uses, and encourage creation of demonstration sites.

Stephanie Chizmar, North Carolina State University

Additional authors:
Rajan Parajuli, North Carolina State University Gregory Frey, USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station
R. Andrew Branan, North Carolina State University
Robert Bardon, North Carolina State University

Perennial Staple Crops: Yields, Nutrition, and Carbon Stock in the Global Food System
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Staple crops, which have large amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and/or fats, provide the bulk of calories in people’s diets. Perennial plants, which can be productive for many years without the need for replanting, can produce staple foods and environmental benefits, but their agronomic and nutritional properties haven’t been considered synthetically in comparison to annual staples. Here we offer a framework to classify perennial staple crops according to their nutritional categories and cultivation status. We assemble literature to report on the yield potential of 51 perennial staple crops, only 15 of which are well-characterized in existing global datasets. We show the extent and distribution of perennial staple crop production in relation to annual crop types, calculate the carbon stocks they hold, and analyze their nutritional content for three macronutrients and nine micronutrients. We found that most perennial staple crops are regional crops (not globally traded) that grow in the subtropics to tropics. At least one perennial staple crop in each of the five nutritional categories has yields over 2.5 t/ha, in some cases considerably higher, competitive with and in many cases exceeding those of nutritionally comparable annual staples. Perennial staple crops only comprise ~4.5% of total cropland. They hold a modest ~11.4 GtC above and below ground, less than one third of the anthropogenic carbon-equivalent emissions for the year 2018, but more than the ~9 GtC held by the same amount of annual cropland. If linear growth in land under perennial staple production continues to 2040, and replaces only annual cropland, an additional ~0.95 GtC could be sequestered. Many perennial crops also had competitive macronutrient density and yield (per unit area) compared to annual staples; moreover, specific perennial staples are abundant in specific micronutrients, indicating that they can be a nutrient-dense part of diets, unlike the most ubiquitous annual staple crops (corn, wheat, rice) that do not appear in the top 85th percentile for any of the nine micronutrients analyzed. Transition of land and diets to perennial staple crops, if judiciously managed, can provide win-win solutions for both food production and ecosystems.

Maayan Kreitzman,
Eric Toensmeier,
Kai M. A. Chan,
Sean Smukler,
Navin Ramankutty,

Got Trees? How stakeholders from the NY dairy sector view Agroforestry - interest, capacity, and enabling factors that would incentivize tree planting for climate resilience.
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Natural climate solutions are conservation, restoration, and improved land management practices that increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in forests, agriculture, wetlands, grasslands, and urban areas. As concerns about the current and future impacts of climate change mount, natural climate solutions are of great interest as a climate mitigation strategy. Large-scale tree planting programs have been prominent in many natural climate solutions initiatives and have garnered international interest and financial support in the private and public spheres. A number of policy makers and scientists have proposed that tree planting projects should be implemented through afforestation of marginal farmland, or by establishing agroforestry in new or existing agricultural systems. The World Resources Institute (WRI) reports that 15 billion trees could be planted on agricultural lands in the U.S. through silvopastoral systems and cropland agroforestry production (alley cropping and windbreaks) while maintaining agricultural yields (Rudee, 2020, Waite and Rudee, 2020). This presentation will focus on the feasibility of integrating tree planting projects through afforestation of marginal farmland, or by establishing agroforestry in new or existing agricultural systems from research on the dairy sector in New York state. We will share key findings from a year of stakeholder engagement and research, including on factors that must be carefully considered when thinking about increasing tree planting, the implications and feasibility of current and proposed policy measures, such as practitioner livelihoods, the diversity of land management and production strategies, existing interest and capacity, and perceived enabling factors and opportunities.

Lily Colburn, Environmental Management, Yale School of the Environment
Luca Guadagno, Environmental Science, Yale School of the Environment Kristen Jovanelly, Forestry, Yale School of the Environment


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