- Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas reduction
The purpose of this project is to educate and train Texas-based agricultural educators, technical advisors and mentor producers on Carbon Farming and the Carbon Farm Planning process, an emergent USDA conservation approach building healthy soils while addressing two urgent priorities: nature-based pathways to draw down atmospheric CO2 and agricultural resilience to climate extremes. This project will elevate awareness of on-farm and ranch Carbon Planning throughout Texas and train the trainers through writing two Carbon Farm Plans and providing an interactive, 7.5 hour Carbon Farm Planning Curriculum Training and Workshop over three-weeks for Texas AgriLife and Cooperative Extension Agents, NRCS State and District Conservationists, and innovative Texas farmers and ranchers. The project will develop mentor-producers and facilitate peer-to-peer producer networking opportunities to promote producer-led information exchanges through Carbon Farm Demonstration field days.
A collaborative team of Carbon Farm Planning trainers (Carbon Cycle Institute), farmers and ranchers (New Leaf Agriculture and Soil for Water rancher), agricultural educators and professionals (Texas AgriLife Extension, NRCS-Texas and NCAT), 1862 and 1890 land grant (Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M) and non-land grant (Texas State) universities will work together to outreach and educate the agricultural community on Carbon Farm Planning.
At the conclusion of the project, Texas will have a knowledge sharing network with experience in Carbon Farm planning and on-farm and ranch adoption of conservation practices building soil health and on-farm resilience. Project partners and supporters will leverage established networks to continue sharing information regarding the establishment of a Carbon Farm Planning program for Texas.
Project objectives from proposal:
Objective 1: Elevate awareness of Carbon Farm Planning within the Texas agricultural community and generate interest in adapting and embedding a Carbon Farm Planning program within a Texas agency.
- Technical assistance providers in Texas will be able to describe Carbon Farm Planning as a conservation planning tool for farms and ranches, as well as recognize a Carbon Farm Plan and differentiate it from other USDA conservation plans.
- Members of the sustainable and conventional agricultural communities will express interest in using this tool and adopting conservation practices with quantifiable climate benefits that also build soil health and farm resilience.
- A statewide organization with locally based offices, such as the State Soil and Water Conservation Board, will assess the possibility of acting as hubs that foster local partnerships to develop and implement Carbon Farm Plans and practices at the farm and ranch level.
Objective 2: Create interactive train-the-trainer learning environments and write two full Carbon Farm Plans - one for a farm and one for a ranch - in order to effectively utilize this conservation planning tool to build soil health and farm resilience.
- Training attendees will demonstrate the ability to use the USDA COMET-Farm and COMET-Planner carbon accounting tools to assess a parcel of agricultural land and quantify potential climate benefits from selected conservation practices.
- Selected training graduates will apply fundamental knowledge of Carbon Farm Planning to the writing of a full Carbon Farm Plan.
- NCAT staff will exhibit the ability to independently write a full Carbon Farm Plan.
Objective 3: Facilitate producer networks to promote producer-led training and future information exchanges.
- Innovative Texas mentor-producers will plan for carbon farming practices on their farms and ranches and start to implement conservation practices with quantifiable climate benefits.
- Mentor-producers will share their experiences with fellow members of the agricultural community, who will then recognize the on-farm and ranch benefits of adopting carbon farming conservation practices.
- A community of Texas agricultural innovators will organize around a shared interest in the Carbon Farming framework as a conservation planning tool and begin to pursue planning assistance for carbon farming practices on their farms and ranches.