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Case Studies

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Carbon Farming

The following are carbon farming projects which encompass the application of regenerative farming and land management practices, including compost and biochar application, to restore and enhance the health of soil and natural working lands while maximizing carbon sequestration.

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Van Vleck Ranch Carbon Project

The Van Vleck Ranch traces its roots to the 1850s when the family first began cattle ranching after looking for opportunities via horse drawn wagon across the country. The ranching tradition has been passed down through generations where to this day the Van Vleck family remains committed to the land that sustains the cattle business. To support these efforts the Van Vleck Ranch has begun efforts around carbon farming, where a 50-acre test plot was treated utilizing compost.

 

The results became immediately obvious. As lands around the test plot began to brown, the 50-acre area stayed green, allowing for continued growth of grasses to support the ranching operation. These results show the promise for the application of compost to rangeland to enhance forage opportunities. The Van Vleck Ranch plans to study the soil conditions, increases in water holding capacity and storage as it makes plans to expand the opportunity across the rangelands.

Bowles Farming
Remediation Project

Bowles Farming Company is a family owned and operated, sixth generation, farming company located in and around Los Banos, California. Bowles Farming Company has been working to restore their soil utilizing mixes of compost and biochar. This project has targeted the treatment of sodic-saline soil, which is soil that is extremely high in salt. Soils become this way after many years of treatment with conventional fertilizers, in addition to factors related to irrigation water. Salt in the soil migrates to the top because the soil lacks porosity, which shocks plants and kills them, making them unusable to grow valuable crops.

 

Bowles Farming Company is looking at compost and biochar to fix these problems. Test plots of compost and biochar of different mixes and ratios, using an application rate of 100 cubic yards per acre have produced promising results on how compost and biochar can fix saline soil across the nation.

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Marin Carbon Farming

From the original three demonstration farms, the Marin Carbon Project has supported the creation of 20 full carbon farm plans covering 14,000 acres. Six more ranches will be selected for plans in 2023, with the goal of sequestering 55,752 MT CO2e by 2030. Over 20 years, the potential carbon reduction associated with these plans when implemented is 256,585 MTCO2e. Compost Application Rates range from 3-8 tons per acer for annual crops. For rangeland, compost applications rates are 6-8 tons/acre.

 

The Marine Carbon Project demonstrated that before treatment the topsoil was depleted of nutrients, making it difficult for farmers to grow food without inputs of traditional fertilizers. After compost application, there was a clear increase in plant productivity, soil carbon sequestration, and the reduced need for traditional fertilizers. Results have also demonstrated an increased water holding capacity in soil, improved crop nutrient uptake and growth, and improved soil retention. The Marin Carbon Project indicates that carbon could be sequestered at a rate of 1 Mg/hectare-year, projected for 30-100 years and even one application of one-half inch of compost, could continue to sequester carbon for 30-100 years.

Yolo Land and Cattle Carbon Project

Yolo Land and Cattle has been ranching since 1976 and is well known for its high-quality grass-fed beef. To support the goals of Yolo Land and Cattle, the ranch is looking to expanding its sustainability initiatives into developing a carbon farming project on its rangeland. The Yolo Carbon Project is planned to begin in 2024. The project plans to treat up to 200 acres of rangeland, with 8-10 tons per acre of compost. Current soil conditions show very low total organic content which means the soil struggles to hold water and nutrients. This results in low forage rates for the cattle and very low resilience for the grasses potential drought conditions.

 

The application of compost is expected to increase the total carbon in the soil, not only assisting with carbon sequestration, but also assisting the soil in holding nutrients and water, resulting in higher yields of grasses, creating a more resilient rangeland and more forage for the cattle. More data will be provided as this carbon project moves forward.

Case Studies

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Habitat Restoration

Following are carbon habitat restoration projects that encompass the application of regenerative farming and land management practices that accelerate reforestation while maximizing carbon sequestration.

Scoping studies for Space for Giants

Mukura Forest and Lake Kivu Catchment Landscape

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