Carbon Farming

1.What is carbon farming?

Carbon farming is the method of identifing what can be implemented on a farm that will increase the flow of carbon into the farm system, increase drought resliency, increase nutrient holding capacity, and help to achieve the state and global goal to lower green house gas emissions.

2. What are the benefits of carbon farming?

Some of the many benefits include:

  • Increased nutrient and water holding capacity

  • Less need for chemical inputs

  • Increased resiliency to droughts and floods

  • Reduced green house gas emissions

  • Increased biological activity, resulting in increased soil structure, and increased nutrient recycling.

3. Are all of these carbon farming practices new practices?

Most of these practices are not new, and include practices such as planting cover crops, hedgerows, reducing tillage, reducing chemical inputs, and  restoring riparian areas. What is new is our understanding of how soil biology is effected by these practices. Soils need carbon to provide food and shelter to soil biota, and in turn these living organisms build a fully functioning system. The soil biota provide the soil with structure, and nutrient recycling, both of which are key to keeping water and nutrients on a farm.

4. What are the best practices for increasing the flow of carbon into a farm system?

Each farm is going to be different but the best ways to start increasing the flow and sequestration of carbon into a farm system is to remember the key principles of soil health.

Key principles of soil health:

  • Keep soil covered as much as possible.

  • Use plant diversity to increase diversity in soil.

  • Keep living roots in the soil as long as possible.

  • Disturb the soil as little as possible.

If you live in the North Coast Soil Health Hub region and you are interested in having a LandSmart Carbon Farm Plan done on your farm, please contact your local North Coast Resource Conservation District.