WHAT IS CARBON FARMING?
Also known as “soil carbon sequestration” or “regenerative agriculture,” carbon farming describes various ways farmland is managed so that soils can absorb and hold higher levels of carbon. It includes the application of soil amendments such as compost or biochar, conservation tillage, agroforestry, whole orchard recycling, managed grazing of livestock, or covering crops to boost living roots. These practices work to take carbon out of the air and store it in soil and plant material to enhance both environmental and economic profitability.
Facts About Carbon
What are the basics of carbon farming?
To put it simply, carbon farming practices pull carbon from the atmosphere as plants grow and store it in the soil. The amount of carbon stored in the soil varies depending on the type of soil and climate conditions.
Many of the farming practices used today that separate carbon from the atmosphere have been in existence for thousands of years. Examples include reducing soil disturbance through no-till farming, diversifying crops and planting legumes, or covering crops from the weather elements.
Another carbon farming strategy involves raising livestock and crops together. By rotating cows among pastures, grass is able to recover from grazing and the animals’ manure helps to regenerate the carbon content in soils.
Is carbon farming a way to address climate change?
Yes, carbon farming has the ability to address climate change. By building the soil organic matter on croplands, there are numerous benefits to enhancing soil health and adaptive capacity. Carbon farming practices help increase carbon storage in soils and redirect waste (such as compost creation from food and animal waste) to increase carbon sequestration.
What are the benefits of carbon farming to growers?
The application of soil amendments gives growers the advantage by enhancing agricultural productivity and supporting outcomes that enhance resilience to climate-related changes. These may include:
- Increased nutrient availability and retention
- Increased crop and forage yields
- Increased water holding capacity and water infiltration in soils
- Enhanced microbial activity in soils
- Improved crop quality
- Reduced need for chemical fertilizers
- Increased soil resilience
In addition, growers who implement carbon sequestration practices will have the ability to be more competitive with consumers, and may even be eligible for carbon-based farming incentives.
What approaches are there for entering a carbon marketplace?
If you’re considering selling carbon credits, we recommend considering all of the marketplaces and the participation terms. There are two different approaches to enter the carbon markets:
- Aggregator – Involves the farmer selling the entire project, control, and credits to the aggregator in terms and conditions set up in a contract. The aggregator then has complete control over carbon credits, when to sell, price, and data shared.
- Data Manager – Involves paying a data manager to help them enter the marketplace for a fee or revenue percentage. In this case, the farmer has not sold real interests in the projects or carbon credits.
What challenges does carbon farming face?
The depth, texture, and mineral content of soil affect how much carbon is absorbed. While certain practices increase carbon storage, it can be challenging to quantify how much is stored and how to assign dollar values to them. The markets and practices that work in different locations also vary widely.
Some scientific models offer estimates of carbon sequestration for various climates and soil types based on averages over large areas. In this case, it’s important for regulators to have rigorous models verified by measurements to avoid crediting carbon that was never in the soil. Obtaining this type of verification isn’t easy, though. At this time, scientists are still searching for quick, accurate, cost-effective ways to analyze soils.
THE SIGMA AGRISCIENCE ADVANTAGE
From improving soil health by restoring degraded soils to helping to make farms more resilient against droughts and rainfall, carbon farming provides a number of benefits to farmers:
- Enhanced soil and plant health
- Increased climate resilience
- Reduced need for fertilizer
Sigma AgriScience is committed to providing solutions towards carbon sequestration, especially since reducing airborne carbon is an international focus. Our products are designed to help increase carbon containment in the earth, ensuring that your soil is carbon-rich. We know how important it is to have soil that is both economically and environmentally friendly, which is why our products have been tested and proven with that in mind. With our organic fertilizer products, you’ll find a solution that is guaranteed to help increase your production while decreasing carbon emissions.