Empowering conservation professionals to promote climate resilience through carbon farm planning

Project Overview

ENC21-198
Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2021: $78,298.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2022
Grant Recipient: WI Land+Water
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Coordinator:

Commodities

No commodities identified

Practices

No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

Wisconsin Land & Water Conservation Association (WI Land+Water) will partner with Carbon Cycle Institute (CCI) to adapt their Carbon Farm Planning Curriculum for a Midwestern audience and initiate carbon farms throughout the region, providing conservation planners and technical assistance providers the necessary background and tools to aid farmers in building healthy soils and mitigating the effects of climate change.

While introductory webinar and educational materials will be available to a wide audience of conservation leaders, the target audience for the Carbon Farm Planning workshop are Wisconsin’s County Land and Water Conservation Department (LWCD) staff, the implementers of conservation practices on the state’s 13 million acres of agricultural land.

The intended outcomes of providing the workshop to LWCD staff are:

  • Introduce a wide audience of conservation leaders to carbon farming as a viable solution to mitigate the effects of a climate change,
  • Train LWCD staff to use carbon accounting tools (COMET) and develop carbon farming plans that support landowners to build farm resilience to variable weather, and
  • Provide communities opportunities to lead on climate action.

We will achieve our outcomes by partnering with CCI to:

  • Deliver the Introduction to Carbon Farming webinar to a wide audience of conservation professionals, and
  • Adapt and deliver CCI’s three-week online Carbon Farm Planning Workshop to LWCD staff.

Project objectives from proposal:

Educational Materials

  • We will develop and deliver the Introduction to Carbon Farming webinar that will provide an overview of what carbon farming is, the benefits of assessing the landscape through a carbon lens, and how to sign up for the Carbon Farm Planning workshop. We expect to have approximately 100 participants made up of staff from LWCD staff, NRCS field staff, agency partners, University of Wisconsin – Madison Division of Extension staff, producer-led watershed groups, and regional conservation leaders interested in learning more about Carbon Farming. To enhance the impact of the webinar and maximize educational opportunities around it, we will record it and make it available on our website for viewing by our members and partners after the event.
  • We will develop educational materials to support participants in better understanding and sharing the carbon farm concept with their conservation networks.
  • In adapting the Carbon Farm Planning Curriculum to a Midwest audience, we will develop a Wisconsin-specific farm case study to use in the curriculum and during weekly discussions.
  • We will deliver the adapted Carbon Farm Planning workshop to approximately 40 LWCD staff.
  • We will develop materials and stories highlighting the benefits of carbon farming to be distributed through the WI Land+Water newsletter, on WI Land+Water website and social media, and through partner newsletters and public news outlets.

 

Partnerships

  • By providing the Carbon Farm Planning workshop in Wisconsin, we will strengthen our relationship to our national partners and leaders in carbon farming at CCI and the COMET team at CSU. Our relationships to these carbon farm leaders will help ensure our success in taking the step from training to implementing carbon plans on the landscape.
  • Through our Introduction to Carbon Farming webinar, we will expose more partners to the concepts of assessing landscape through a carbon lens and provide more opportunities to collaborate on carbon farming throughout the Midwest. This partnership will help conservationists in our area share best management practices for our soils, determine COMET validation and calibration needs on our soils, and share experiences in developing and implementing Carbon Farm Plans with Midwest farmers.
  • We will share our educational materials to a wider network of conservation partners through the Introduction to Carbon Farming webinar and in other speaking events and conferences. All materials will be designed to allow attendees to use to share the concepts of carbon farming with their networks.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.