low carbon farming

8 effective ways farmers can leverage low carbon farming

low carbon farming

Carbon markets for agriculture have grown over the years with more opportunities for farmers than ever before. Low carbon farming utilizes practice changes that are not just good for the soil and bringing new income to the farm, it’s also beneficial for the climate.

Cultivating crops produce a lot of emissions that come excessively from practices such as using chemical inputs or deep tillage. It is estimated that the agriculture industry is responsible for 10-24% of global carbon emissions. While it seems considerable, it is a great responsibility to feed the world afterall. But there’s always room for improvement — especially solutions that benefit farm income and the environment. And this is where carbon farming comes in.

This article covers:

Low carbon farming practices and definition

Low carbon management on the farm is about adopting farming techniques to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon farming refers to a variety of farm methods that have roots in regenerative agriculture that also emphasizes building soil carbon.

Some examples of low carbon farming practices are:

How farmers can leverage low carbon farming

low carbon farming

While the practices are similar to regenerative farming, one of the biggest advantages of carbon farming is the added economic incentive it extends to farmers, along with other beneficial impacts.

When a crop producer engages in low carbon farming, protecting and nourishing the land enhances the farm in various ways. Carbon farming contributes directly to positive benefits to the farmers, as well as strengthening climate change commitments.

1. Soil health

Safeguarding the capacity of soils to produce crops and support life is one of the biggest opportunities with carbon agriculture. Soil is vital for life on earth and conventional farming practices have long-term drawbacks to productivity.

Soil loss and erosion are some of the biggest problems in agriculture today. This is a result of intensified land cultivation which diminished the soil structure and can lead to greater reliance on chemical inputs and decreased capacity to support healthy yields.

Introducing cover crops on the farm, as well as eliminating bare fallows, are carbon farming techniques that have shown great potential in protecting the soil from disturbance and keeping nutrients and organic material intact.

2. Carbon sequestration

Soils are the largest natural storage of carbon after oceans. Carbon farming especially aids in enhancing this capacity by utilizing practices that draw carbon from the atmosphere into storage in the soil. Practicing minimum to no-till are known methods that keep carbon on the ground.

Economic incentives in carbon farming are achieved when the changes in farm practices generate verified soil carbon storage over time. On top of income, soils rich in carbon enhance overall soil functioning which leads to healthier yields and life-supporting attributes.

3. Climate resilience

When soils are healthy and packed with carbon, there are better chances they can withstand extreme or sudden intense weather conditions. This is especially true with rising temperatures and higher weather variability due to the effects of climate change.

Soils are natural resources that are vulnerable to disturbances and practicing carbon farming helps farms withstand climate shocks. As the future of crop production is projected to be rocked by climate change effects, carbon farming boosts crop and soil resistance, and therefore farmer livelihood and food supply.

4. Crop diversification

Many monoculture farms rely heavily on chemical inputs for nutrients and to keep crops healthy. Where some are known to experience pests and diseases more easily than farms that have more diverse crops. More inputs mean higher costs and greenhouse gas emissions that also deplete soil health and lead to water pollution.

Introducing companion crops can help minimize risks and help make fields healthier. Another way is to practice agroforestry, which depending on your goals, can also provide multiple crops produced on the farm for a new revenue source apart from the main crop.

5. Technology

Advancements in agriculture have given rise to technological innovations to improve management and even productivity. Carbon farming needs to be verified to ensure that emission reduction and sequestration are genuine. And this is a great opportunity for a farm to use farm management software that can help keep track of practices and input levels along with other relevant farm data.

Other technologies worth considering to improve farm management are remote-sensing, satellite imaging, AI, and precision technology in agriculture can further optimize farm performance that can minimize input wastage, which emits greenhouse gasses and provide a clearer overview of how productive a farm is.

6. Savings on farm inputs

Carbon farming sees to it that usage of pollution-causing chemicals is minimized, if not altogether eliminated. Chemical fertilizers, which have seen up to 300% price surge more recently, can eat up a good chunk of the farm budget. Reducing the application of inorganic fertilizers can help soils bounce back to better health as it keeps costs at a minimum. This is a great advantage to low carbon farming, especially in these times where price and supply squeezes are proving to be extra causes of concern for many farmers worldwide.

7. Carbon credits

Partaking in a carbon program enables a farm to document the practices and results of carbon farming from start until a certain period between 5-10 years. MRV or measurement, reporting, and verification are key steps in the process to generate carbon credits.

When carbon credits are generated, it represents the amount of CO2 the farm was able to store through successful practice changes. 1 carbon credit usually represents 1 metric ton of CO2. Buyers pay for carbon offset credits which grants the farm a new income stream through selling credits in carbon markets. Producing tradable carbon credits is a unique opportunity for farmers that doesn’t happen with other sustainable farming methods, all while promoting ecologically healthy choices for the farm.

8. Financing

There are practical implications to shifting to low carbon farming practices on a farm. While most carbon programs provide earnings to the farmer after a few years of engaging in carbon farming, providing financial support in the beginning is hard to find — but it is available.

eAgronom supports pre-financing at the beginning of carbon farming projects for farmers. Adopting new practices can be challenging for most and having the financial means to carry out a plan can make or break the success of any endeavor. And when it’s as crucial for farmer income and the planet like this, every support a farmer can get will mean better carbon sequestration and better results for carbon credits.

Getting started with carbon farming

Talk to us about carbon farming and how you can take advantage of pre-financing to kickstart your journey to build back soil health and income.

Fill in the form below to get in touch with us about our carbon program.



  • Sharma, M., Kaushal, R., Kaushik, P. & Ramakrishna, S. Carbon Farming: Prospects and Challenges. Sustainability 13, 11122 (2021). https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/19/11122/htm
  • Cowie Annette L., Lonergan Vanessa E., Rabbi S. M. Fazle, Fornasier Flavio, Macdonald Catriona, Harden Steven, Kawasaki Akitomo, Singh Brajesh K. (2013) Impact of carbon farming practices on soil carbon in northern New South Wales. Soil Research 51, 707-718. https://doi.org/10.1071/SR13043
  • Tang, K., He, C., Ma, C. and Wang, D. (2019), Does carbon farming provide a cost-effective option to mitigate GHG emissions? Evidence from China. Aust J Agric Resour Econ, 63: 575-592. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8489.12306


Subscribe to the newsletter