What is constantly evolving is the form and location of our planet’s carbon, a process called the carbon cycle. When too much carbon enters our atmosphere, it acts like a blanket trapping heat from the sun, which causes global temperatures to rise, shifting the Earth’s jet stream, ocean currents, and weather patterns leading to erratic rainfall and storm events, water scarcity, rising sea levels, and more.

Agriculture, especially regenerative organic agriculture, has a big role to play in lessening the effects of climate change because soil stores several times the amount of carbon as the atmosphere, acting as a natural “carbon sink.” According to the Rodale Institute, “On-farm soil carbon sequestration can potentially sequester all of our current annual global greenhouse gas emissions.”

What is Carbon Sequestration?

The United States Geological Survey defines carbon sequestration as the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change. Carbon sequestration can occur in plants, soils, geologic formations like oil and gas reservoirs, and oceans. Locations where carbon can be stored for long periods of time with minimal leakage are known as carbon sinks.

When it comes to “sinking” carbon, agricultural lands can be game changers! Grazing lands alone store up to 10%-30% of the world’s soil carbon reserves. Trees, plants, and crops absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and store carbon in the biomass of tree trunks, branches, leaves, roots, and soil. Soils are the largest land-based carbon sinks on the planet!

Organic Valley farmers are in the field with cows on pasture.

The Beard brothers check on pasture at their family farm in Iowa.

Pasture isn’t just grass. It’s a living ecosystem that gives animals the nutrition they need to thrive and good grazing practices on organic pastures help increase carbon sequestration and contribute to reversing climate change! Organic Valley farmers give their cows access to pasture every day they can during their grazing season. The only exceptions are during bad weather, excessive heat, or if a cow is breeding or not feeling well.

Some Organic Valley farmers are even moving to silvopasture systems, the thoughtful pairing of trees, pasture, and grazing animals like cows and sheep to create a healthy ecosystem and stable farm income for generations.

Organic Valley farms also do their part for the climate by sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, installing renewable energy systems, keeping 440 million pounds of synthetic chemicals off the land, and much more. On the business end, 100% of the electricity at Organic Valley’s owned facility comes from renewable energy sources.

As Organic Valley moves toward our carbon neutrality goal, we look forward to more partnerships with Earth-friendly organizations, and companies like Yard Stick, that are dedicated to the climate solution.

A probe for testing carbon in soil.

New technology allows for faster soil carbon information.

Share on LinkedIn
Share on Pinterest
Share with email

Related Articles

Share on LinkedIn
Share on Pinterest
Share with email
« Back to Blog Home