Farmers all across the country can play a big role in sequestering carbon in their soils and in their trees. It is a great way to get the carbon out of the air and back into the Earth. Many farmers are taking steps to do this already – they are building up the organic matter in their soils by planting cover crops and following no-till farming practices. These steps make their soils richer and more productive, reduce stormwater, chemical, and silt runoff, and lock up carbon for years.
It would be great to encourage all farmers to adopt these practices. Many counties across the country are already encouraging these practices via education and incentives. We should be encouraging these practices – ask your local officials what they are doing about working with farmers on this issue. The Agricultural sector has a major role to play in reducing carbon in the atmosphere and we can help incentivize farmers to implement these practices while increasing the quality of our food supplies.
Of course we can also sequester carbon in our own backyards and front yards as well. We need to move beyond grass! Lawns currently dominate our landscapes. Today, more land is tied up in grass-covered yards than land used for any other crop in the eastern US -what a waste. Lawns are basically ecological desserts. Check in with your local Master Gardeners or Master Naturalists to learn about the best practices in your area. You will be pleased to find out how you can move away from the ecological grass deserts to healthy yards full of native flowers, shrubs, and trees. You will be helping to save the birds and butterflies in the process. We have lost so much habitat as a result of suburbanization that most species are in decline. We can save the birds at the same time as we save our “goldilocks climate” by sequestering carbon.