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As the global climate continues to change, farmers and farm communities around the world face increasing challenges. It is critical that farmers find ways to prepare for what the future will bring. Carbon farming has the potential to help farmers improve their soil health and develop resiliency to future conditions while helping reduce atmospheric CO2 emissions. Carbon farm planning is important because it provides a framework for landowners to delineate the steps they need to take to meet their goals. Through carbon farming, farmers are empowered with the understanding that, now more than ever, they can play an important role in being part of the climate solution.
Carbon farming practices are management practices that are known to sequester carbon and/or reduce GHG emissions. At least thirty-five of these practices are identified by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) as conservation practices that improve soil health and sequester carbon while producing important co-benefits, including: increased soil water holding capacity, hydrological function, biodiversity, and resilience.
Carbon Farm Planning emerged from the nexus between the climate crisis and traditional farm conservation planning, as a whole farm approach to optimizing carbon capture on working landscapes. The Carbon Farm Planning team works with a farmer or rancher to assess all the opportunities for GHG reduction and carbon sequestration on their land. The process combines traditional whole-farm planning and resource assessment approaches with up to date climate science to develop a comprehensive, carbon-focused farm plan. To read more about carbon farm planning, visit: https://www.carboncycle.org.
If you are interested in learning more about developing a carbon farm plan for your operation, please contact your local Resource Conservation District.
Soil health assessments go beyond the traditional chemical and plant available nutrient analysis, they also look at the soil biological and physical properties. View the full suite of tests offered in the soil health assessment in the following preview image >
The North Coast Soil Hub has worked with winegrape growers to develop over 200 custom soil health assessments for growers who wish to understand how to improve soil health. If you are interested in a soil health assessment, please contact your local Resource Conservation District.
With funding from USDA-NRCS, the North Coast Soil Hub embarked on a project to create a regionally-derived soil health scoring system for North Coast vineyards, similar to the Cornell Soil Health Scoring System. Members of the Soil Hub gathered over 300 vineyard soil samples to analyze the impacts of management decisions on soil health and identify meaningful indicators of soil health.
If you are in the North Coast region and looking for a technical assistance provider (TAP) for the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Healthy Soils Program (HSP) or State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), you can find a full list of providers at the link below.