About C-FARM & Objectives

The primary goal of C-FARM is to quantify how on-farm adoption of specific conservation and innovative management practices affect the total stock and depth distribution of soil carbon under cropland, grassland, and rangeland uses across a diversity of major land resource areas in the U.S. On-farm data are urgently needed to:
(i) refine soil carbon prediction models that were
developed from datasets mainly from research experiment sites,
(ii) improve predictions of how much soil carbon may be sequestered with adoption of soil carbon farming approaches throughout the conterminous U.S., and
(iii) assess how soil carbon stocks and associated soil health functions may change in the future. 

Specific objectives of the project:

1. Identify representative farm sites (and targeting those having adopted innovative conservation approaches) informed by robust geospatial analysis. 

2. Quantify soil carbon stocks and other soil health properties from conservation chrono-sequences and paired land uses (conventional cropping, conservation cropping, grassland management, and woodlands) on similar soil types. 

3. Establish associations between soil carbon stock and soil health indicators relevant to a variety of ecosystem services, including plant production, water capture and storage in soil, water quality, GHG exchange, and soil microbial biodiversity.

4. Extrapolate field-observed soil health indicators to continental US croplands using an ensemble of three biogeochemical models. 

5.  Estimate the impact of projected climate extremes on soil carbon change, crop productivity, GHG emissions, and soil health indicators of continental U.S. croplands by 2100. 

6. Assess the suitability of portable hand-held devices and remote sensing technology (in cooperation with Microsoft) to monitor changes in soil carbon stocks for some sites in Ohio and Michigan. 

7. Explore the socio-economic, legal, and political factors limiting the adoption of carbon-farming practices on farms and ranches. 

8. Assess the role of Extension in identifying and partnering with farms sites for on-farm research, designing and implementing outreach activities for increasing the adoption of carbon farming practices; and evaluating adoption of BMPs. 

9. Cooperate with international organizations and the private sector to develop opportunities for expanded adoption of soil carbon farming approaches to enhance soil carbon storage.

10. Make results available to all stake holders including land managers, private sector, policy makers, the
general public, and the global data bank involving other international initiatives.