Carbon farming includes a variety of practices known to improve the rate at which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and converted to plant material and/or soil organic matter.
All crops absorb CO2 during growth and release it after harvest. The goal of agricultural carbon removal is to permanently sequester carbon within the soil. This is done by selecting farming methods that return biomass to the soil and enhance the conditions in which the carbon within the plants will be stored in a stable state. We work with individual farms to increase their capacity to capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it in soil organic matter and vegetation, and to adopt practices that save water and energy in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Our region has been working to establish carbon farming practices on rangeland for several years. Each milestone is bringing us closer to scaling-up carbon farming across our lands.
- 2014-15: The Rancher-to-Rancher program provided educational resources and on-the-ground learnings to landowners, which, among other things, centered on the importance of carbon sequestration as a tool for increasing soil health and water holding capacity. Through the program, family managers of the Ted Chamberlin Ranch became motivated to put carbon farming practices into action.
- December 2015: The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) funded and worked with the Carbon Cycle Institute to create a Carbon Farm Plan for the Ted Chamberlin Ranch. One of the strategies identified in the plan is the placement of compost on 4,300 acres of the property.
- May 2016 – December 2016: With funding from the LEAF Initiative, CEC and the CRCD conducted an analysis of the potential for scaling up carbon farming in Santa Barbara County and concluded that the supply of high-quality, low-cost compost would likely be one barrier. The final report, Scaling Up Carbon Farming: A Compost Supply Analysis of Santa Barbara County, is currently in a peer-review process and outlines next steps in compost development.
- May 2016: The Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan — of which the LEAF Initiative is a partner– identified the reduction of C02 emissions in the food sector as one of its top 16 priorities, and carbon farming as one of its top strategies. During the upcoming implementation phase of the Food Action Plan, the SBFAP project manager will work with partners such as the Ted Chamberlin Ranch and others to quantify the successes of pilot projects and feed those successes into the Food Action Plan’s reporting system.
- December 2016 – December 2017: With support from a recently awarded LEAF grant, CEC and CRCD will move into the “scaling up” phase by developing carbon farming eligibility for CEQA mitigation funding, addressing questions or concerns from specific stakeholders (ie relating to the impact of compost application on native plants), and conducting one-on-one outreach to gauge interest and identify the next possible ranchers and farmers to draft carbon farming plans.
- January 2016 – present: More than a dozen partners are conducting field trials at the Ted Chamberlin Ranch — — making this project one of the most visible compost application research pilots in the state. Partners during this stage include: the Cachuma Resource Conservation District (CRCD), the Carbon Cycle Institute, the Community Environmental Council (CEC), LegacyWorks Group, the state and local offices of Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District, the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Ted Chamberlin Ranch, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, UC Extension, UC Davis, Cal Poly, and the emerging California Carbon Project.
- January 2018- present: The Chamberlin Ranch, along with its partners CRCD and CEC were awarded funding through CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program Demonstration Project grant. This will enable us to continue expanding and “scaling up” our carbon farming efforts in Santa Barbara County. Additionally, there were three other farms/ranches that received funding through the CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program Incentive Program to implement carbon farming practices.
- USDA NRCS COMET-Planner
COMET-Planner is a tool developed to help farms and ranches evaluate potential carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas reductions from adopting NRCS c...
- Compost Study
Soil management strategies are increasingly recognized as an important part of the solution to climate change and California’s severe drought conditio...
- Rancher to Rancher
Can productivity and profitability be improved, using tools and resources you already have? You are invited to set up a learning site on your ranch. O...
- New GHG Protocol Recruits Ranchers in Fight Against Climate Change
The California Air Pollution Control Officers Association has announced the approval of a new greenhouse gas emission reduction credit protocol that r...
- American Carbon Registry Standards Announced
Pioneering Standards Support Ranchers While Reducing Greenhouse Gases New offset protocol allows credits for sequestering carbon on rangelands The Ame...