25x'25, an alliance of nearly 1,000 partner organizations promoting the development of renewable energy in rural America, announced that it will transition to become a special project of Solutions from the Land (SfL).

SfL itself began as an offshoot of 25x'25, conceived and led by a team of respected agriculture, forestry, conservation, academic and industry leaders who came together in 2009 to explore integrated land management solutions that can help meet food security, public health, economic development, climate change and conservation of biodiversity goals.

SfL President Ernie Shea and 25x'25 Co-Chair Bart Ruth made the announcement today at the 72nd convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.

25x'25 was founded 10 years ago as a self-directed special project of the Energy Future Coalition (EFC), a non-partisan alliance that seeks to identify and advance energy policy options with broad political support. Ruth, a corn and soybean producer from Rising City, NE, and a former President of the American Soybean Association, noted that at that time only 5.6 percent of total energy consumed in the United States came from renewable sources of energy.

"Today that has grown to more than 10 percent, and thanks to the tireless efforts of 25x'25's volunteer leaders and partners, our nation is well on its way to achieving the 25x'25 vision, in which America's working lands - especially its farms, ranches and forestlands - will meet 25 percent of our nation's energy needs with renewable resources," said Ruth, who along with Dr. Allen Rider, former president of New Holland North America, will represent 25x'25 on the SfL Board of Directors.

Reid Detchon, Executive Director of the Energy Future Coalition, said, "We are proud of our role in incubating both of these important initiatives, and the time has come to reboot 25x'25 and move it to Solutions from the Land."

Ruth noted, "SfL is a perfect fit for 25x'25, as its mission is to support and advocate for the full range of goods and services that sustainably managed farms, forests and ranches can deliver from the land - food, feed, fiber, energy and a wide range of ecosystems services. Going forward, 25x'25 will form the foundation of SfL's clean energy platform. SfL's two other areas of focus will be large-landscape, working lands, conservation initiatives and climate-smart agriculture."

Together with its partners, Solutions from the Landis advancing and demonstrating a new land management model in which American agriculture, forestry and conservation take effective, collaborative steps toward facing 21st century challenges. Rather than managing land through top-down programs designed to address individual objectives (e.g., food, fiber, clean water, energy, habitat, health, wildlife and biodiversity) and/or challenges separately, the SfL model embraces an integrated approach through which multiple public and private stakeholders join forces to improve the resiliency of agricultural and forestry landscapes and deliver multiple goods and services.

Under the SfL land management model, stakeholders work collaboratively to implement landscape-scale solutions and partnerships, building broader and empowered coalitions of land managers, regulators, scientists, and civil society around agro-forest ecosystems or landscapes to ensure continued production of essential food, feed, fiber, energy, and similar products, while improving the delivery of environmental, economic and public health values from the land. SfL will also work to harmonize policy frameworks, streamlining overlapping and often contradictory regulations and policies.

Another priority for SfL is ensuring that the stewardship of ecosystem services is rewarded. SfL aims to structure new markets for ecosystem services, which have the potential to substitute for conservation payments, to adequately provide returns comparable to traditional production. SfL is also seeking to energize and coordinate research to develop a reliable base of information and knowledge to achieve SfL goals.

Among the projects in which SfL has already engaged are:

  • The Delmarva Land & Litter Challenge brings together a diverse group of organizations representing grain producers, chicken growers, poultry integrators, conservationists and academic partners, along with agribusiness, finance and service providers to collaborate on a new way forward for managing poultry-related nutrient pollution on the Delmarva Peninsula.
  • North Carolina ADAPT is a highly respected and well-networked group of agriculture and forestry thought leaders in North Carolina, that came together to engage farmers, foresters and livestock producers on the topic of adaptation.
  • The North American Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance (NACSAA) is a platform for knowledge sharing and application of climate science to agriculture that will give farmers, ranchers and foresters the opportunity to collaborate with industry, academia, government and NGO partners in developing ways to improve production resiliency, and mitigate current and future risks of changing climatic conditions.

NACSAA farmer leaders will be in Paris in early December for COP21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, where they will be explaining how agricultural systems, forests and other land uses can be sustainably managed to simultaneously satisfy domestic and global demand for: safe, abundant and affordable food, feed and fiber; economic security and sustainable development; reductions to hunger and malnutrition; improvements to soils, water and air quality; and enhancements to biodiversity and ensured ecosystem health, while also delivering mitigation and adaptation solutions to a changing climate.