Theme of the Month - August: Agriculture

Here at the Center for Carbon Removal, our communications and research will feature a different theme each month. This August, the theme of the month is agriculture.

Above: Ranchers in Marin County, CA applying compost at their cattle ranching operation. Scientists at UC Berkeley are working with these ranchers to understand the carbon removal potential of compost application on ranches. 

Above: Ranchers in Marin County, CA applying compost at their cattle ranching operation. Scientists at UC Berkeley are working with these ranchers to understand the carbon removal potential of compost application on ranches. 

The Potential

All of the planet's vegetation holds roughly as much carbon as the atmosphere; and its soils hold nearly three times that amount. As a result, agricultural systems hold massive potential to harness the power of photosynthesis to scrub carbon from the air and lock it away in plants and soils. What's more, farmers and ranchers across the world are working on innovative ways to manage their land in ways to remove carbon from the sky. Over the next month, we will feature the stories of some of these "carbon farmers," share the science behind carbon sequestration in agriculture, and show how policymakers are supporting these efforts.

Government agencies area already supporting agriculture strategies that hold significant carbon sequestration potential. Take the USDA's agroforestry strategy, for example.

Government agencies area already supporting agriculture strategies that hold significant carbon sequestration potential. Take the USDA's agroforestry strategy, for example.

The Challenges

Agricultural carbon sequestration techniques still need significant development to get to scale. More basic science research is needed to understand soil carbon cycle dynamics to give us more confidence in how much various carbon sequestration systems store (and for how long that carbon remains there). Innovation is also required to reduce the costs of tools to measure and verify carbon sequestration. What's more, markets (and protocols for carbon farmers to access these markets) are critical for monetizing carbon sequestration benefits -- as is build consumer awareness to understand the carbon footprint of the food we eat.

Looking Forward

Stay tuned for lots more information about carbon sequestration in agriculture throughout August. Check out our growing list of resources on carbon sequestering agriculture, and get engaged with us to share your stories about carbon removing agricultural practices, and discuss how we support their development appropriately.