Farmers everywhere look for ways to keep the farm productive for generations to come. As the reality of climate change and global instabilities shake the agriculture industry, alternative solutions are becoming more viable than ever before.
Both technological and agroecological innovations are predicted to drive carbon-neutral agriculture in the coming years. Some of these solutions are already available and can help future-proof a farm from regulations, environmental events, and maintain a farm’s legacy.
Why is there a need for carbon-neutral agriculture?
There is mounting pressure on farmers to keep up with food demand and keep emissions low, while at the same time maintaining profits to secure margins. Carbon-neutral agriculture can help with all three, especially with gas emissions.
All human activities produce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions making the planet warmer the more GHG accumulates in the atmosphere. Agriculture, in particular, is responsible for 12-25% of global emissions. While some emissions are due to natural plant development cycles, it cannot be denied that there are areas where emissions can be limited.
What carbon-neutral agriculture means is to leverage the natural ways croplands retain carbon for longer and minimize emissions from leaking. This can be done by adopting farm practices that focus on soil health through carbon sequestration. By enhancing soil carbon stocks, productivity improves while keeping carbon out of the atmosphere and into the soil where biodiversity can make better use.
How to adopt carbon-neutral agriculture
Different ideas are coming together to make sure that farming is fit for future scenarios. Below are 5 tools for carbon-neutral agriculture that farmers can use to their advantage.
1. Carbon farming
There’s a reason why carbon farming has become the talk of the town. Not just for farmers but other businesses and governments as well.
Carbon farming is a structured approach to soil carbon sequestration that starts with an initial farm assessment with a carbon program provider to produce income-generating carbon credits for farmers.
Farmers implement farm practices that enhance the carbon storage of the soil with the data reported from the farm to be verified to produce soil carbon credits sold to external businesses to offset unavoidable emissions.
Many perks come with carbon farming that benefits global climate change mitigation, local environmental enhancements, and on-farm benefits in profit and yields. Farmers seeking to get started in carbon farming begin with a carbon program to manage the process of soil carbon sequestration for profits.
→ Learn more about our carbon program here
2. Sustainable financing
Green financing on the farm goes hand-in-hand with farmers adopting sustainable practices on the farm. One reason why many farmers hesitate to adopt greener farm techniques is due to the steep initial cost to make changes.
To overcome this budget hurdle, improved access to financing is made available to farmers who will use it to make the farm climate-smart. This helps alleviate the economic constraints that prevent farmers from applying regenerative farm practices despite their eagerness to do so.
Sustainable financing is seen to be a massive driver of the wider adoption of carbon farming. Unlike most carbon programs, eAgronom offers pre-payments to farmers engaging in carbon farming. Click here to get access to pre-paid carbon credits.
Moreover, farmers adopting greener farming practices can enjoy better rates as banks and financial services are starting to roll out green loans to farmers and land managers.
→ Talk to us about pre-payments in carbon credits
3. Farm data management
Managing farm records have become much more accessible to farmers over the years through data management tools specifically made for agriculture. Farm management software helps farmers plan, track, and analyze the farm which may not be as easily done when keeping records on paper or spreadsheets.
Managing farms through centralized information tools also helps farmers with regulatory requirements where governments require certain reports and information.
Farm management software is also a tool that can help farms reach climate neutrality. How? Information such as diesel usage and fertilizer application is especially useful for carbon farming which requires data to verify carbon credits for income through MRV. MRV stands for measurement, reporting, and verification and it is through these steps that progress on farm emissions and sequestration is confirmed which then produces high-quality carbon credits.
Incorporating trees in the farm is a traditional farming technique that gives many benefits to farmers, which include environmental enhancement in soil health, microclimate, and biodiversity, as well as provisions for new income like firewood, medicine, or other raw materials that can be produced by trees.
Agroforestry also enhances the carbon sequestration capacity of the farm with better nutrient allocation in the soil and additional carbon storage provided by the trees’ woody biomass. There are different techniques in agroforestry which depend on your crops as well as the farm’s unique features. Careful planning and design are needed with agroforestry systems.
→ Get in touch with us to get financing for agroforestry projects
5. Precision technology
Technological advancements have made their way to become useful tools in agriculture. Aside from carbon farming, precision technology is seen to improve farm management and sustainability to keep track of data and understand how the farm is doing more completely than just relying on guesswork.
Precision technology isn’t one tool but a set of different tech solutions that include satellite imaging, AI and machine learning, weather sensors, drones, smart devices and IoT (Internet of Things), and so on. More innovations are coming out which all aim to make decision-making in the farm more informed and also limit wasteful practices.
Satellite imaging and NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) for example are tools that can be incorporated to manage carbon farming data to understand how the farm is progressing.
Keeping up with the times to prolong farm legacy
Climate change is changing farming. Not just in the environmental and weather-related aspects of it, but it’s anticipated that regulations from governments will be introduced to keep industries in check with their emissions.
Committing to climate-smart practices to limit planet-warming emissions on the farm can also improve farm profit and keep the legacy of farming longer in the family. These tools and techniques are just some of the things farmers can integrate into their practices to reinforce a farm’s resilience to climate shocks as well as keep up with the latest farming laws, without losing track of profits and yields.
Ready to get paid for shifting to carbon farming?