Partner Spotlight: Carbon Cycle Institute

In this month’s Partner Spotlight we looked at the history of our partnership with the Carbon Cycle Institute and our collective work around carbon farming:

What is CCI?

Carbon Cycle Institute (CCI) is an important partner for the RCD network and has been instrumental in developing research and delivering technical assistance around carbon sequestration on agricultural lands. From their website, CCI “was seeded in 2007 when founders of the Marin Carbon Project (MCP), including Jeff Creque, set out to enhance carbon sequestration in rangeland, agricultural, and forest soils through applied research, demonstration, and implementation.”

CCI’s relationship with RCDs

In 2013, the MCP began community implementation with the launch of a two-year-long carbon farm planning program on three ranches in West Marin: Stemple Creek Ranch, Straus Family Creamery, and Corda Ranch (more on these efforts can be found on the Marin Carbon Project website). The Marin Resource Conservation District (RCD) worked with CCI to create carbon farm plans with ranchers to look at which carbon sequestration practices would be most logical and applicable for their specific agricultural lands. Practices range from compost application, conservation tillage, hedgerow installation, and pull from a list of over 350 National Conservation Practice Standards determined by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The significance of our partnership

RCDs and CCI play a crucial role in spreading conservation practices like carbon farming through technical assistance to landowners and land managers. Ranchers can rely on evidence-based research on carbon sequestration from CCI that will also be beneficial to their ranching operations. They can use the expertise of professionals from CCI, and of conservation practioners within the RCD network. to find out how they can obtain funding to try out innovative practices like applying compost on rangelands, to learn where to source their compost, to find out what kind of equipment to use to spread the compost and what benefits they can hope to see, or what issues they might expect to run into.

CCI’s relationship with RCDs extends throughout the state and they have been instrumental in training RCD staff on writing carbon farming plans for landowners. A sampling of news coverage of RCD work with carbon farm plans can be found in Santa Rosa’s Press Democrat and Civil Eats.