Farmers Adapting to Changing Times and Conditions

The shifting climate is having a big impact on the agricultural sector, and farmers around the world are being forced to adapt to numerous challenges. Here are some of the challenges that farmers are facing due to climate change:

  1. Changing weather patterns: Climate change is causing shifts in weather patterns, leading to extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, heatwaves, and storms. These changes can damage crops, reduce yields, and affect the timing of planting and harvesting.
  2. Water scarcity: Changing rainfall patterns can result in water scarcity, making it harder for farmers to irrigate their crops. This can lead to reduced yields and even crop failure.
  3. Increased pests and diseases: Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns can lead to the proliferation of pests and diseases that can damage crops and reduce yields.
  4. Soil degradation: Climate change can cause soil degradation, making it less fertile and less able to support healthy crops. This can result in lower yields and reduced food quality.
  5. Reduced biodiversity: Climate change is causing shifts in ecosystems, which can reduce biodiversity and disrupt natural pollination cycles, leading to lower crop yields.
  6. Financial pressures: Climate change can lead to increased costs for farmers, such as higher irrigation costs, increased pest management expenses, and greater investments in technology and infrastructure to adapt to changing conditions.

What Can We Do?

  1. Promote sustainable farming practices: Encouraging sustainable farming practices such as conservation agriculture, crop rotation, and agroforestry can help to improve soil health and reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides. This can also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
  2. Develop and promote drought-resistant crops: Developing crops that are more tolerant of drought conditions can help farmers adapt to changing rainfall patterns and reduce water usage.
  3. Improve water management: Improved water management techniques, such as drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting, can help farmers to conserve water and reduce the impact of droughts.
  4. Expand access to climate information: Providing farmers with access to reliable climate information can help them make better decisions about when to plant, what crops to grow, and how to manage their farms.
  5. Support research and development: Investing in research and development to improve agricultural productivity, develop new crop varieties, and enhance soil health can help farmers adapt to changing conditions and improve their resilience.
  6. Provide financial support: Providing financial support, such as subsidies or insurance, can help farmers to manage the financial risks associated with climate change and adopt new practices.
  7. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture through practices such as conservation tillage, improved nutrient management, and the use of renewable energy can help to mitigate the impact of climate change on agriculture.

Farming Solutions for a Sustainable (and Less Scary) Future

Farming Solutions are needed – It seems every day you come across a news story that paints a very bleak future for traditional farming and the consumers who benefit from it.

We’ll briefly explore the many challenges facing the agricultural industry, but we’ll also posit some potential ways for farming operations large and small to adapt to changing times and conditions.

Shifting climate patterns are making it vastly more difficult to predict whether a crop will make it to harvest. Heat waves, hail storms, cold snaps and floods have become more pervasive and intense in recent years. Even crops that may not be directly affected by catastrophes, like the severe drought currently gripping the western portion of the U.S., are being indirectly impacted by residual factors, like smoke from wildfires.

We’re also facing other crippling issues without a foreseeable fix. Supply chains that support agriculture have been stretched to their limit since the beginning of the pandemic for a variety of reasons, including transportation availability, labor shortages, and associated delays affecting raw material sourcing. And the skyrocketing cost of fertilizer is further complicating matters for traditional farming operations and having an outsized impact on already-thin profit margins.

But what if there was a way to circumvent these issues using innovations in agtech? It sounds impossible, and while it comes with its own set of challenges, indoor growing, especially in urban areas, could be a big part of the answer going forward. 

Science and tech have come a long way in the last decade (hello, sensor technology!), allowing growers to do much more with much less in a smaller footprint. And hyperlocal farming means produce grows near the consumer, eliminating supply chain-related woes. Instead of spending the first half of its shelf life in transit, veggies get to the end user much quicker, resulting in less food waste. Local growing also reduces the need to burn fossil fuels to get food to its destination, and empowers communities to gain more control over their own food supply.

It’s hard to put a value on security and reliability, and we certainly won’t attempt to, but controlled-environment agriculture allows people to harvest large yields year-round without external variables getting in the way. There’s also no need for fertilizers or pesticides, which takes possible contamination of drinking water out of the equation. 

The practice is gaining momentum worldwide and already having an impact on sourcing for grocery chains, hotels, hospitals, restaurants and food banks. Likewise, farmers are embracing the technology because it provides a security blanket in uncertain times.

Drought, flood impacts create uncertainty for food producers

Drought, flood impacts create uncertainty for food producers

210114_Container Farming Desert_FINAL UPDATE-min

An alarming pattern has emerged in the farming industry over the last two decades, and experts believe the impact on food production won’t relent anytime soon.

A recent analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that payouts to U.S. farmers for crops destroyed by droughts and flooding climbed by more than 340% between 1995 and 2020. During that time period, farmers received over $143.5 billion in federal crop insurance payments, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that analyzes research data and spotlights breakthrough findings to inform decisions that govern everyday life. 

While the conditions threaten the current livelihoods of farmers across the country, there are also intangible, permanent effects that can’t be ignored, such as the exodus of families who have been farming for decades and, in some cases, centuries. They’re simply giving up due to variables that are beyond their control. 

The EWG points out that while crop insurance provides a crucial safety net for farmers, the program is doing little to mitigate climate-related risks. Taxpayers pick up about 60% of premiums, which means farmers cover the other 40% to get a crop insurance policy. EWG says the “costs are expected to go up even more, as climate change causes even more unpredictable weather conditions,” according to an article on  

This inevitability has decision-makers at the federal and state level considering drastic alternative measures, especially ones that help farmers adapt to changing conditions, enabling them to produce crops regularly without external factors.

One of those solutions is farming in controlled environments that eliminate outside impacts and promise reliable yields. Shipping containers are being repurposed and outfitted with a network of sensors and high-tech systems that regulate temperature, humidity, nutrient concentrations, watering and lighting. They enable farmers to grow food year-round — regardless of weather or climate — and drastically reduce the amount of water needed to grow crops, because the water is recycled and filtered and not lost to evaporation or transpiration.

“We see ourselves not as a replacement for traditional farming, but rather a tool that allows farmers to have that steady source of income throughout the year, without the stress,” said Rusty Walker, CEO of a Colorado-based company called FarmBox Foods, which designs, manufactures and sells enclosed hydroponic farms.

The containerized farms are also a critical element for crop production on islands, which currently import the vast majority of their food. The automated farms essentially add acreage to an island for the purpose of food production, cutting out potential supply chain issues and shipping costs that inflate food prices.

As Congress develops a new farm bill in 2023, the EWG is calling on lawmakers to consider focusing on “how to effectively fund farm programs so that farmers can adapt to and fight the climate crisis.”

Are We Approaching Global Warming and Climate Change Wrong?

Exploring a way around the unsustainable trend of clearing forests for agricultural purposes

Global Warming - Plant A Tree


There is a battle going on today over global warming and climate change and what to do about it. One side believes that increasingly abnormal weather patterns are a natural occurrence whether there is an increase in carbon emissions or not. They believe there is evidence that suggests that climate is cyclical and not really impacted by environmental changes or that the environmental changes are not significant enough to alter what has been unpredictable patterns in earth’s weather patterns.

The other side believes that increasing CO2 emissions have altered and continue to alter the weather patterns, and has ultimately been responsible for the increase in hurricanes, tornados, heat waves, cold spells, excessive rain, droughts, and pretty much any increase or decrease in weather patterns. This line of thinking says that the carbon emission increases are permanently destroying the earth’s ice caps, water security, food security, and ultimately the ability to sustain life.


The argument revolves around carbon emissions and our inability to regulate the human impact on said levels. The push is to regulate transportation, population, consumption of water and food, production of goods, or pretty much every facet of our daily life as we now know it. Here in the United States, there are those who believe that we cannot alone make a difference if other countries are not following the same path. Others believe that we must take the lead in order for others to follow. This is the conundrum we all find ourselves in. However, maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way. What if both sides have validity? What if there was a solution that both sides of the argument could agree on 100%?


There has been a decrease in forest land around the world for decades now. There have been warnings for as long as this has been happening, yet we have forgotten about the decimation of these natural habitats. Deforestation is the leading cause of 15% of carbon emissions. (The World Counts)

According to some estimates, tropical rainforests store more than 210 gigatons of CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere.

Trees absorb greenhouse gases, and they produce oxygen and water vapor that they then release into the atmosphere. However, after deforestation, these gases are left unchecked in the atmosphere, creating a layer of ozone that traps heat, leading to global warming.

Arguably, our carbon emissions have been going up as the natural forests have been increasingly eliminated, therefore making it close to impossible to get control of. If we were to concentrate on replenishing forests at an equal rate by which they are being destroyed, at minimum our carbon levels might remain relatively the same. Imagine if we could start to build back the forest to levels seen in previous decades, we might actually lower carbon emissions naturally rather than fighting over how to get it done and who has to give up what in order to save our planet. Consider this:

*The world lost 20 million acres of primary forest between 1990 and 2020. (FAO)

*Even though the loss rate slowed down by half from 2010 to 2020, we’re still losing too much primary forest, according to the rainforest destruction figures.

*Trees absorb the carbon dioxide that humans exhale, but they also trap the greenhouse gases we create every day.

*Deforestation leaves animals without homes. But it also allows these gasses to go into the atmosphere, increasing global warming. For these reasons, our focus is on the wrong area. Consider these staggering statistics; *Deforestation is the leading cause of 15% of carbon emissions. (The World Counts)

*According to deforestation and climate change stats published by Al Jazeera, Amazon’s carbon emissions rose by 9.6% in 2019.

*More than 20% of the world’s primary forest loss occurred in Canada. (ThoughtCo.)

*About 1,740 square miles of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest were destroyed between 2017 and 2019. (Mongabay)

*According to Haiti deforestation facts from Pacific Standard, the country may completely lose its rainforests in just 20 years. ()

*Bolivia is the fifth leading country in deforestation. (Mighty Earth)

*From 2001 to 2019, Indonesia lost 93% of tree cover in areas where deforestation is predominant. (Global Forest Watch)

*Deforestation affects Africa at twice the world rate. (Sustainable Food Systems)

*Africa is losing 3.9 million hectares of forest every year. (Ressources Magazine)

*Deforestation brings new diseases, such as COVID-19. When habitats are disrupted, animals come in contact with people and spread new diseases onto the human race. Many believe this is how HIV and the Ebola virus spread. (FutureLearn)

The data above is not really in dispute. If it were, the argument would not be about whether or not it was happening. What is clearly not in dispute is that these are disastrous figures and information that should shake us at our very core. While there are efforts to reverse this, the Amazon decreasing deforestation by two thirds is simply not enough. What is the United States doing about it? Is there really enough awareness among the citizens to gain support for solutions? What are the potential solutions for the U.S. as well as other countries that need our assistance and leadership?

If it is the belief that the U.S. should lead the way, then the U.S. is going to have to put pressure on other countries and resource providers to assist them, as well as take care of its own backyard. Since we can all agree that this is one of the main culprits of climate change and global warming, it should not be so difficult to garner the political capital in order to make a difference. We are arguably putting billions of dollars in assistance to other programs that are not producing a dollar’s worth of results.

We can all agree that losing our forests ultimately will be our demise if not altered. Yet, we battle politically on an argument where two sides are dug in and will not budge. Meanwhile, we are wasting valuable time as the forests are vanishing right in front of our very eyes.

The problem is not just found in the U.S. Read the alarming statistics that impact us all.

*In 2019, the world lost more than 8.9 million acres of tropical rainforests. (Bloomberg)

*By 2030, there may be only 10% of the rainforests left. (The World Counts)

*Since the 1600s, the U.S. has destroyed 75% of virgin forests. (LoveToKnow)

This is the common hurdle that makes it as difficult as the climate change argument. However, this is where the U.S. can really lead the way by providing assistance, and other countries might be more accepting of the help. We need to have a “Forests for Life” program.


Solutions exist! Once the United States acknowledges that building and replenishing forests is a priority, other countries will follow if given some guidance and assistance. We have to remember that while the main issue may not exist within our country solely, the impact of other countries where the impact is larger impacts us entirely. It alters what we can and cannot do. It means that we have to ration our freedom and our way of life in order to minimize what is not being done somewhere else. Once that has been established, a plan needs to be put in place to help foster the replenishment of forests and or start new ones where they once existed. FarmBox Foods, a hydroponic growing company, has come up with a means to propagate tree seedlings. The farms can simultaneously propagate more than 9,000 tree plants within a 320 sq. foot container. It is a controlled-environment unit that can grow trees anywhere and operate off grid in areas that do not have a secure or reliable source of electricity. The farms operate with minimal water usage, and the fact that they are transportable is a significant characteristic.

A FarmBox Foods farm can be deployed in the areas where the program will be implemented. Once the farms have done their job, they can be deployed to another location. An even greater impact would be having the farms working in other countries. Imagine Africa creating forests in areas where its sustainable. Imagine Bolivia being able to replenish its devastated forests. Imagine Haiti being able to regrow its forested lands. Imagine countries that could have the ability to harvest and restore, generating revenues and saving the planet. Once the plants have reached planting maturity, they can be placed into areas to begin creating growth of trees that will slow and eventually turn around the carbon problem the world is experiencing.


It is a little-known fact that agricultural lands are often acquired through forest devastation. Consider these facts:

*Illegal logging and agriculture are some of the main culprits for deforestation. Sadly, having fewer forests isn’t the only consequence of land clearing. The aftermath is causing disastrous effects on the entire ecosystem.

*Some 80% of the tropical rainforests are destroyed due to agriculture. (Greenpeace USA)

If the forests are being turned into agriculture, then you have to take away the incentive for why this is happening and provide agriculture that’s sustainable and does not need the space in order to grow. FarmBox Foods also can provide some solutions to curb the need to acquire huge amounts of land in order to provide the same amount of food. FarmBox Foods farms can be stacked and fill unused warehouses while providing massive amounts of food for the population in need. They can be operated in any climate and have a controlled environment, unlike traditional farming.

With a company like FarmBox Foods, you eliminate the need to clear forests, and introduce sustainability and food security with a more efficient, lower use of resources, and without pesticides and fertilizers that poison the food and the earth.


FarmBox Foods provides a means to propagate trees to be planted in order to save, replenish, or start forests that have been lost or devastated. FarmBox Foods can use the same farm to help diminish the need to clear forests to provide for lands in order to feed an ever-growing population and supply wood for the ever-increasing demand for housing and other construction. If we really want to make a change, then we need to take out the politics and turn words into action before it really is too late. As we debate the validity of climate change, time is ticking by and it could be too late. If we can really take back our forests and institute good forest management, we can begin to settle the other things that may or may not be affecting our climate and the health of our planet. If the politicians in the U.S. really want to make a difference, then they will implement sustainable container farming now and make history as the group that saved the planet. It’s clear that when the forests are gone, our planet goes with it. Then it won’t matter who was right or who was wrong.

C Lazy U Ranch Will Grow Produce for Guests with Container Farm

C Lazy U RanchA historic dude ranch in the mountains of Colorado is using a high-tech container farm to broaden its focus on farm-to-table options for guests.

Having been in business for 102 years, C Lazy U Ranch in Granby has a storied reputation as a luxurious, year-round mountain getaway with 8,500 acres of land for a multitude of activities. The ranch’s culinary program is also well known for its ability to craft the perfect meal, and some of the fresh leafy greens that come with those meals will soon be grown on site in an automated Vertical Hydroponic Farm built by Colorado-based FarmBox Foods.

“We saw an opportunity with FarmBox Foods to essentially have a year-round farm-to-table option,” said Paul Klees, assistant general manager of C Lazy U Ranch.

Guests and members will have the opportunity to tour the futuristic, controlled-climate farm — based inside a repurposed shipping container — and see where the food they’re eating is grown. C Lazy U Ranch is planning to grow lettuce and culinary herbs inside the 320-square-foot farm, where the entire growing process, from seed to harvest, takes place. The sensor-based technology and insulation in the container farm are superior to greenhouses, which are susceptible to the bitter cold of the Colorado Rockies, Klees said.

Purchasing a Vertical Hydroponic Farm is “just another step in the ranch’s continuing effort to create authentic farm-to-table dining,” Klees said.

“There are economic aspects to it because we’re shipping in all of the food, including produce,” he said. “When guests eat at our restaurants, we want the meals to resonate with them, and what people are looking for is healthy, organic, fresh produce.”

The 200 horses on the property already benefit from C Lazy U’s sustainable approach to food sourcing; most of the hay they eat is grown on the ranch. C Lazy U is also supplied with water by its own spring and operates its own wastewater facilities.

The exterior of the container farm will be finished with a rustic scheme so it will easily blend in with its natural surroundings, which include a creek and historic structures.

C Lazy U began tending beehives last year, and Klees described the move as a “huge win” because both tours and ranch honey have become popular among visitors. The container farm is slated to be the next hands-on attraction at the ranch, where guests and members could have the opportunity to harvest their own veggies and prepare meals with a chef.

“It’s interactive, it’s educational, and it builds into our vision and mission statement of having a sustainable model,” Klees said.

Using Blackhawk Equipment for prefabrication, RK Mission Critical for manufacturing and assembly, and Absolute Logistics for transport, the container farm is scheduled for delivery in mid-August.

Growing the Trees Needed for Reforestation Efforts

ReforestationWhen considering reforestation, the blue spruce is the largest known tree of its species in the country. This tree is recognized not only for its size but also the critical ecosystem services that it provides, such as food and shelter for wildlife, water purification abilities, and its role in absorbing CO2 from our atmosphere and storing carbon in its wood, according to

Our Vertical Hydroponic Farm (VHF) farm is capable of housing up to 4,800 seeds in the seed table and 4,104 plants in the grow walls.  The farm’s climate can be adjusted to provide the ideal temperature, watering schedule, and nutrients for successful tree production. With a germination period of 10-14 days and a 95% success rate, followed by 60 days in the grow walls, FarmBox Foods makes reforestation possible anywhere, anytime, year-round. Annually grow up to 35,000 trees in 320 square feet while using only 3-5 gallons of water per day.

  • Efficiently manage the labor of your farm averaging 8-10 hours per week with the ability to remotely monitor your farms conditions.

  • One full time employee can effectively manage up to 4 farms, producing up to 140,000 saplings annually.

  • Greatly reduces the labor and need for acreage compared to traditional nurseries, while providing the ideal climate needs through any season in any location.

Traditional tree nurseries, when funded under federal or state cost-share programs, are required to have a minimum of 300 well-spaced seedlings per acre (1 acre = 43,560 square feet) in the first growing season.  Tree spacing most commonly used ranges from 435 to 726 trees per acre for reforestation purposes as well as wildlife enhancement programs.  In the FarmBox Foods Vertical Hydroponic Farm, you can accommodate over 8,900 seedlings and saplings in 320 square feet.

Impacts of climate change

Climate change is leading to unprecedented threats to our forests, including rising temperatures, prolonged drought, increased pests, and larger, more severe wildfires.  As of 2021, 128 million acres in the United States have the potential to be reforested.  To fulfill half of this need, we have to more than double our current production

National labor shortages are cited as the largest barrier to expanded seedling production.  Workforce limitations, including seasonal laborers, are a significant factor across America’s nursery infrastructure.  Retiring institutional knowledge is also creating additional barriers for successful operations to continue at today’s demands.

Disease and insect infestation kill more trees annually than forest fires.  When temps are high and tree sap is flowing, leaves and fruits are in full bloom. These are all attractants to tree-killing bugs.  The recent epidemic of pine beetles is a prime example of the devastation a little bug can wreak on tree populations.  Millions of trees were lost to the mountain pine beetle alone over the last 20 years. 

Fire is an inevitable part of what makes a forest a forest.  However, climate change and other human activity has been enabling even naturally caused fires to occur more frequently and intensely.  Wildfires also burn the carbon stored in trees and soil, releasing large amounts of smoke, methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which impacts the overall global temperature. 

Trees grown in a Vertical Hydroponic Farm can have a significant impact on revitalizing these forests and restoring the overall ecosystem.