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California Initiates Organic, Sustainable Carbon Farming

Posted by: : Paul EbelingPosted on: May 19, 2015 California Initiates Organic, Sustainable Carbon Farming

California Initiates Organic, Sustainable Carbon Farming

A new agricultural initiative in California is putting carbon sequestration into practice to reverse climate change.

The program, called carbon farming, encourages farmers to embrace organic, sustainable practices that have been proven to keep carbon dioxide in the ground instead of in the air.

Farmers participating in the program set aside sections of their land and work to return them back to their natural state. These parcels are left to grow on their own, without fertilizers or tilling. The land eventually returns to its natural polyculture system and livestock is brought in to graze the land. Once grazed, the animals move off this plot of land and onto another. This continual grazing rotation allows the plants to regenerate and preserves healthy soil.

A report published in early Y 2014 by the University of California, Berkeley confirmed that this process is successful in trapping excess carbon, therefore improving the environment as well as soil health: “Management practices that conserve and enhance carbon storage in range lands as well as prevent losses to the atmosphere can help mitigate climate change while enhancing sustainability under future climate scenarios.”

Under the carbon farming initiative in California, farmers receive carbon credits based on the measurable amounts of carbon in the soil. Studies of the soil have found that this process not only works, but the healthier soil continues to capture more and more carbon over time.

The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is a Key indicator of the damage being done to the environment.

Since the industrial revolution, atmospheric CO2 has risen by 30%, due largely to burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and land use changes. While scientists and policy makers continue to work toward viable solutions, farmers are also doing their part, not only in California but also across the nation.

Mississippi rancher Allen Williams, Ph.D. also implements this rotational grazing system, and the benefits he has seen are multifaceted.

“We are saving money. We are not having to buy herbicide, we are not having to employ machinery, tractors and equipment…These plants are just almost going nuts, so to speak, with photosynthetic activity once we take the cattle off, and that is allowing these plants, since they are rapidly regrowing, to capture carbon out of the air and put it back into the soil.”

For more information on the effects of carbon in the atmosphere and how carbon farming is helping, check out the film “Carbon Nation”, currently streaming on Hulu and the short film “Soil Carbon Cowboys”.

With support from the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Food Tank ( will be highlighting projects that marshal increased awareness and research on democratizing innovation and true cost accounting.

The Global Alliance is a unique coalition of foundations committed to cultivating healthy, equitable, renewable, resilient, and culturally diverse food and agriculture systems shaped by people, communities, and their institutions.

The Global Alliance and Food Tank would like to thank Global Alliance members, McKnight Foundation, and GRACE Communications Foundations for their particular support for this effort.

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by Emily Seifert

Paul Ebeling, Editor



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Paul Ebeling

Pattern Recognition Analyst, equities, commodities, forex
Paul Ebeling is best known for his work as writer and publisher of “The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report” on the US Major Market Indices™, a highly-regarded, weekly financial market letter, where he enjoys an international audience among opinion makers, business leaders, and respected organizations. Something of a pioneer in online stock market and commodities discussion and analysis, Ebeling has been online since 1994. He has studied and worked in the global financial and stock markets since 1984.

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