Resource Conservation Districts around the state, including MCRCD, are working with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS), University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), the Carbon Cycle Institute, and other agencies and organizations to engage agricultural operators in becoming ecosystem stewards to provide on-farm ecological benefits, improve agricultural productivity, enhance agroecosystem resilience, and mitigate global climate change through a planning and implementation process known as “Carbon Farming.”
Carbon can be beneficially stored long-term (decades to centuries or more) in soils and vegetation through biological carbon sequestration. Carbon Farming involves implementing on-farm practices that: 1) decrease the production of greenhouse gases on farm, and/or, 2) increase the rate at which the farm supports photosynthetically-driven transfer of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to plant productivity and/or soil organic matter. Enhancing agroecosystem carbon, whether in plants or soils, results in beneficial changes in other system attributes, including soil water holding capacity and hydrological function, biodiversity, soil fertility, ecosystem resilience and agricultural productivity.
Carbon Farming involves implementing conservation practices that are known to improve the rate at which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and converted to plant material and/or soil organic matter. Carbon farming is successful when carbon gains, resulting from enhanced land management and/or conservation practices, exceed carbon losses.