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Is it possible to raise a carbon-neutral cow?

June 25, 2019

From FastCompany by Adele Peters

Here’s why Stonyfield, Danone, Annie’s, and other food companies are leading a regenerative agriculture revolution.

In the rolling hills along a rural stretch of the California coastline south of San Francisco, researchers plunged small probes into the soil last year, took samples, and sent them to a lab to measure the carbon stored in the dirt. Three years earlier, they’d done the same thing. Over time, they found, the amount of carbon in the soil had grown. The hypothesis: A herd of cattle grazing on the land may be fighting climate change by helping sequester extra carbon from the air into the ground.

Is it possible for a burger to be carbon-neutral? It’s well known that cattle—and by extension, beef and milk and cheese and ice cream—have a large carbon footprint. A 2018 study found that Americans need to eat 90% less beef and 60% less milk to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. But another recent study suggests that if farmers manage grazing using specific techniques called regenerative agriculture, the final stage of beef production could actually sequester more carbon than it produces…

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