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If every hectare of land across the globe included cover crops, we could sequester up to 192 million US tons of carbon every year. How can we get there?
Plant breeders have made incredible improvements to crops, from improving yield to boosting resilience and increasing pest resistance. But can plant breeding improve soil carbon storage?
Soil compaction is the result of soil particles being squished closer together, reducing pore space and making it tougher for roots to grow and water to flow. Dig deeper into how compaction impacts water available for plant growth, and what you can do to prevent or fix it on your fields.
Understanding how water moves through your fields can give you great insights into how plants might fare during times of excess rainfall, drought, and everything in between. Read on and find out how to measure your field's soil water.
Growing cover crops can be a challenge in environments where growing seasons are shorter or water is less plentiful. But growers are seeing ecosystem service benefits using cover crops, and with some management changes, minimal drawbacks.
From driving a car to buying groceries, many parts of our daily lives make up our carbon footprint. And the scope gets even bigger when you consider the carbon footprint of a whole organization.
We'd love to say it's possible to completely cut greenhouse gas emissions. But industries like transportation and manufacturing will always produce some amount of greenhouse gases. Offsets are one way to help.
Changing management practices can help sequester carbon in the soil and improve overall soil health. But how deep does that organic carbon go?
Think four major players: farmers, project developers, verifiers, and registries.
Additional practices, permanence, verification, and registration. The perfect blend for a quality carbon credit!
“Additionality” is a huge component of verifying whether a carbon market is creating quality credits. It’s asking, “Is this project sequestering carbon or decreasing emissions in a way that would not happen otherwise?”
Adverse weather and extreme climatic events can hinder storage or even release large amounts of soil carbon.
About 40% of all farmland in the contiguous U.S. is rented. So who owns carbon credits generated on that land, and how should owners and operators discuss entering a carbon program?
Changing practices might come with some changing expenses, but how do these practices impact farm income in the long term?
Adopting cover crops and reduced or no-till can come with new expenses. But how do the on-farm economics really pan out?
Total soil carbon includes both organic and inorganic carbon. Soil organic carbon includes the once-living matter from plants, dead leaves, roots, and soil microbes, while inorganic carbon is mineral-based and much less responsive to management.
Owned, direct, indirect, energy, supply chains--what in the world counts as an emission for each scope?
Measuring, reporting, and verifying soil carbon requires accurate collection of soil data, reporting in standardized units, and third-party checks.
After adding additional plant matter to the soil, the biggest driver of storing soil organic carbon is the activity of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi, followed by soil texture.
Cover crops provide an additional source of biomass to the soil. More biomass means more opportunities to sequester carbon!
Brazil, European countries, and the United States are among those focusing on agriculture’s role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon.
Potential buyers of carbon and ecosystem service credits include any business, government, industry, or individual interested in decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Both voluntary and compliance carbon markets are trying to do the same thing--generate and sell credible carbon credits. But key differences arise when buyers and sellers opt in compared to mandated systems.
Collect samples to measure organic carbon concentration, bulk density, and coarse fragments. Together, these three measures can help you accurately calculate soil carbon stock in your fields.
Calculating soil organic carbon stock requires measures of soil organic carbon concentration of the soil, bulk density, and coarse fragment content.
Implementing cover crops and moving to no-till can make the greatest impact at the lowest cost, although the amount of carbon sequestered or emissions reduced and cost of each practice varies by region.
A “carbon pool” is any part of the climate system with the capacity to store, accumulate, or release carbon, according to the European Union. The soil carbon pool includes all the carbon in the soil, but the size of the soil carbon pool can be changed depending on management.
Agriculture is often cited as a primary source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but crop production and land use account for just over 13% of food-related GHG emissions globally. Altogether, food production in every stage accounts for 26% of global GHG emissions.
Healthy soils are teeming with life. Changing management practices to foster biological activity is the key to improving soil health.
The words “ecosystem services” capture all of those tangible and intangible ways in which human beings depend on, use, and benefit from the natural environment.
139 million acres of farmland in the US are still eligible to change crop production practices to reduce tillage, according to United States Department of Agriculture data from 2016.
Carbon credits in voluntary carbon markets are typically priced and sold by the market providers themselves. Like other consumer goods, prices for credits are influenced by supply and demand. As demand increases, so too could the average price paid per credit sold on the marketplace.
The soil’s potential carbon capacity depends on soil type, climate, and management practices. No two soils will sequester carbon at the same rate or in exactly the same amount—different producers need to implement different practices depending on their land.
Increased soil water storage, improved biological activity, better soil aggregation, improved yield--these are just a few of the benefits of increasing agricultural soil carbon.
Carbon cycles through agricultural systems through plant photosynthesis, biomass decomposition, and animal production, with opportunities to improve carbon sequestration at each point in the cycle.
Management practices either improve or set back soil carbon sequestration, beginning with the soil and moving through crop production.
All aspects of crop production that involve keeping the soil covered, minimizing disturbance, and agronomic management can help sequester carbon and reduce emissions.
A carbon registry is the central component of a carbon market trade, positioned between projects that store or offset carbon and buyers that purchase carbon credits.
Compared to other sectors globally, food production (including retail, transport, processing, farming, and land use) accounts for 26% of all greenhouse gas emissions as of 2019.
Soil management is responsible for over half the greenhouse gas emissions generated by agriculture in the United States. Enteric fermentation—or gases created by livestock digesting their food—account for another 27%, and manure management another 14%.
Making small tweaks to on-farm nitrogen use can make a big difference in greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, and crop production.