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Carbon Farming: California Focus on Soil to Meet Climate, Water Goals

Carbon Farming: California Focus on Soil to Meet Climate, Water Goals

A pioneering program in California aims to sequester carbon, improve water resources and boost plant growth, by treating the soil beneath farmers’ and ranchers’ feet as part of a living system.

Soil’s ability to capture carbon and store water has led to an upsurge of interest in this often overlooked natural resource.

In California, a new program called the Healthy Soils Initiative is about to put unorthodox farming practices to the test. With modest grants of up to $50,000 administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), a network of farmers and ranchers throughout the state will embark on a series of experiments in carbon farming.

The term refers to improving soil health by biological processes that limit the amount of synthetic chemicals applied to crops and adopting techniques aimed to reduce nutrient loss.

Kevin Muno is among the converts. He and his business partners at the Santa Ysabel Ranch run a cattle operation called the Land of Milk and Honey. Located about 40…

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