What is Carbon Farming?
While the term "carbon farming" may imply the production of carbon, it is actually the opposite. Its goal is to use farming methods that cause carbon to be captured and sequestered in plant material and the soil. It aims to meet three challenges: landscape restoration, food security, and climate change.
Farming systems made with this in mind manage soil, water, animals, and plants to increase production while reducing emissions. It can involve a single method, such as switching to no-till planting, or it can incorporate a long list of changes.
Some of the latest carbon farming methods include maximum groundcover (using groundcovers to completely cover the land), mulching, retaining crop stubble, composting, and more. Organic farmers and gardeners are already familiar with some of these techniques, while others are fairly new to the agricultural industry. Breeding animals to produce less methane is one of the newer methods.
Traditional farming is often taught within families from one generation to the next. However, for these new farming systems, it's better to learn from a university. This is because the new methods didn't exist before, so they can't be learned simply by listening to the older farmers in the family. Instead, one must go to where those on the forefront of innovation are teaching.
Carbon farming goes beyond simply growing crops in different ways. It also affects animal farming, husbandry, and related fields. Typically, carbon farmers will also learn about meteorology, which lets them better predict needs for water, sunlight, and related factors.
Notably, carbon farming systems aren't only good for sequestering carbon. Farmers in this field also aim to improve the health of plants, animals, and soil; improve water efficiency, reduce soil salinity, and produce an overall improvement in the areas where they operate.