Understanding the Climate Benefits of Sustainable Agriculture

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2010: $11,905.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Jeanne Merrill
CA Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN)
Renata Brillinger
California Climate & Agriculture Network


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: grazing management, manure management, pasture renovation, range improvement, grazing - rotational
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: technical assistance, demonstration
  • Energy: bioenergy and biofuels, energy conservation/efficiency, energy use, solar energy, wind power
  • Farm Business Management: risk management
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, hedgerows, soil stabilization, wildlife, carbon sequestration
  • Pest Management: weed ecology
  • Production Systems: transitioning to organic, agroecosystems, holistic management, organic agriculture, permaculture
  • Soil Management: composting, organic matter, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil physics, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: leadership development


    This project trained agricultural professionals on the expected impacts of climate change on agriculture, proven sustainable agriculture practices to mitigate climate change, and the status of climate change policy as it pertains to agriculture. In collaboration with a planning team representing the three agencies, we organized three workshops and farm tours for NRCS, Extension, RCD staff to showcase innovative sustainable farming practices that reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions, sequester carbon, produce renewable energy or make farming operation more resilient to climate change. The workshops were held in three distinct areas of California and featured regionally appropriate crops and practices.

    Project objectives:

    The following performance targets were identified for this project:

    - Establish planning committees to develop the agenda for the workshops.

    - Conduct three workshops and farm tours in three diverse regions of California, attended by 25 to 35 people each for a total of 75 to 105 total project participants.

    - Newsletter articles and media to promote the workshops.

    - Two factsheets on related climate change and agriculture issues, focused on information relevant for California.

    - Ongoing evaluation between workshops based on participant feedback and planning committee discussion to improve upon future events.

    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.