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These 4 experts will make you a carbon farming believerThese 4 experts will make you a carbon farming believer

Carbon farming and regenerative practices can make agriculture a leading solution in climate change mitigation. Four expert panelists discuss the practices, how companies can approach working with their supply chain and the free tools and resources to measure impact.

4 Min Read
These 4 experts will make you a carbon farming believer

“I believe that we are on the cusp on the next revolution in agriculture. It is a revolution from agriculture being a net source to a net sink of greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s also a revolution from being an input intensive system to a knowledge intensive system.”

—Britt Lundgren, Stonyfield

Part 1: The next revolution


  • Katherine DiMatteo, STFA, introduces the panelists.

  • Britt Lundgren, Stonyfield, explains how agriculture can shift from being a climate change contributor, to being part of the solution.

  • The benefit of full-scale Life Cycle Analysis (LCA).

  • Stonyfield is supporting Farm OS, an open source, decision support platform to help farmers get the tools they need to build soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Grounding principles to think about when starting to tackle climate change issues in your business.


Part 2: Carbon farming practices

Highlights from Albert Straus, Straus Family Creamery:

  • Straus addresses how his company is creating a sustainability model for other organic farms to be able to use and implement.

  • Straus explains some of the company's carbon farming practices such as composting, hedge rows, windbreaks and electric trucks powered by waste.  

  • How carbon farming practices can help farmers economically.

  • Helping more farms use carbon farming practices by creating financial incentives.


Part 3: Climate impact in a larger supply chain

Highlights from Gero Leson, Dr. Bronner’s:

  • Leson talks about how to get suppliers to support carbon farming practices.

  • How Dr. Bronner’s integrated organic smallholder farmers into the supply chain before there were fair trade standards in place.

  • Focus on soil productivity through implementing composting, mulching, soil coverage and better farm management will significantly increase yields.

  • The importance of focusing on regenerative agriculture for tree and field crops.

  • If you want to change the behavior of smallholder farmers in the tropics, you need to speak to the economic advantages and the reduction of toxic chemical exposure.


Part 4: The value of data

Highlights from Daniella Malin, Sustainable Food Lab:

  • Malin speaks to the value of data and how seeing the numbers is a key way to inspire and motivate others to choose a sustainable agroforestry model.

  • The happy correlation between sequestering carbon in the atmosphere and helping farmers financially.

  • The farmers know how to build good soil; they just don’t know how to get paid doing it.

  • Unilever, a major player in agriculture, created the Cool Farm Alliance to give suppliers free tools to implement changes and achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gases.

  • A quick look at the Cool Farm Tool (CFT).


Part 5: Using tools to quantify impact

Highlights from Keith Paustian, Colorado State University:

  • Paustian discusses how agriculture has significant challenges in measuring carbon impact.

  • An overview of the COMET-Farm Tool and how it works to provide farm-scale greenhouse gas quantification.

  • COMET-Farm workflow is easy to use and specifically designed for non-experts such as farmers and ranchers.

  • Current applications of COMET-Farm Tool for USDA, conservation programs and private businesses to look at sustainability metrics for their agricultural products.


Part 6: Motivation and connection


  • Panelists discuss what motivates farmers to participate in carbon farming practices.

  • Ninety-five percent of farmers transition to organic farming because of financial needs.

  • The premium price gets farmers interested, but they also want to be apart of community building, increasing yields and eliminating toxicity.

  • How companies can start evaluating their greenhouse gas emissions in order to have a positive impact.

  • Two important questions for companies to consider when starting out: 1. Where are my relationships with farmers the strongest, and, 2. what do I know already about where my largest impacts are?

  • How can the tools help companies that have no connection with their suppliers and farmers?

  • Why companies need to forge relationships with their suppliers if they want to have a positive impact on climate change.


Part 7: Audience Q&A


  • How do younger farmers who want to use sustainable practices get access to farmland and be able to afford land?

  • The issue of succession and how to get young farmers interested in taking on this work and working their family’s land.

  • Why aren’t there more economic incentives for smallholder farmers to switch to carbon farming methods?

  • The failure of policy to support taking carbon out of the atmosphere. There is also a distrust in carbon sequestration and if it is a viable investment for investors.

  • The anonymity of carbon markets and how giving individuals and companies more knowledge  and connection to the impact they are having could give additional incentive.

  • What are the bottlenecks for farmers to overcome financial barriers to transition to carbon farming methods?

  • Specific organizations and trusts that are helping inset upfront expenses for farmers.

This session—Climate Day, Digging into Carbon Farming—was recorded at Natural Products Expo West 2018.

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