Carbon Farming Alliance for Research and Management (C-FARM)



Adoption of soil-carbon-enhancing practices by farmers and ranchers requires knowledge about soil carbon sequestering practices and associated agronomic and environmental benefits. However, current knowledge on carbon (C) farming is primarily based either on simulation modelling or on data from a limited number of well-replicated field experiments. To clearly translate these findings to soil management and conservation practices for enhancing soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration under diverse agroecosystems, large-scale on-farm data collected from croplands, grasslands and rangelands are needed. Furthermore, knowledge gaps exist on how projected climate extremes will impact SOC sequestration, crop productivity, agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and soil health. To fill these critical knowledge gaps, the proposed project will measure rates of SOC sequestration from on-farm conditions using traditional and enhanced carbon-farming methods under croplands, grasslands, and rangelands of the conterminous U.S.

On-farm evaluations provide direct evidence of the effect of management on SOC sequestration based on the complexity of crop, livestock, and forage systems deployed by farmers and ranchers. Study sites under on-farm conditions will be selected for Major Land Resource Areas (MLRAs) in the conterminous U.S. sites will be sampled on the basis of typical chrono-sequences and paired land uses for representative farms and ranches under traditional and innovative farming practices (e.g., cover crops, reduced/no-tillage, diversified crop rotations including legumes and perennials, improved and strategic grazing management, organic amendments) to assess changes in SOC stock, soil health/quality, and agronomic productivity.

The project will establish a relationship between SOC stock and adaptation/mitigation of climate change as intervened by soil health, plant production, management practices, fertilization, and irrigation. Changes in agroecosystem SOC stocks with implementation of enhanced carbon farming practices will be projected across LLRs and MLRAs by refining, calibrating, and validating multi-ensemble process-based models based on data from these on-farm evaluations. The project will also test methods of assessment of SOC stock by portable hand-held devices and remote sensing techniques. It will explore the socio- economic factors and policies limiting the adoption of carbon-farming practices for both commercial and family farms. The project will assess how Extension and outreach activities can contribute to enhancing the adoption of SOC-sequestering practices by farmers and ranchers.

Updates and In the News

Thank you C-FARM Sponsors

C-Farm Sponsors

In cooperation with: Utah Department of Agriculture & Food, Kansas State University, Michigan State University, Utah State University, USDA Agricultural  Research Service, Sandia National Laboratories, the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Agricultural Research Institute of Uruguay.