Published January 2019 – Agriculture has much to lose if the state does not avoid the worst impacts of climate change. A 2018 literature review by the University of California predicted that by the year 2100 climatic changes such as temperature and precipitation will dramatically reduce the production of walnuts, apricots, peaches, kiwis, avocados, almonds, table grapes, and other crops. More extreme and frequent droughts and floods also put our agricultural industry at great risk. California’s farms and ranches contribute eight percent of the state’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With sufficient resources, farmers can reduce potent greenhouse gas emissions, store carbon in soil and woody plants, and produce renewable energy.
In consultation with several academic experts in the field, this review summarizes primarily California-based peer-reviewed scientific literature on the most powerful farming practices available to reduce GHG emissions and sequester carbon. The focus of our review is on methods to reduce GHG emissions and sequester carbon on farmland, pasture and rangeland. Many of these solutions also bolster agricultural resilience to climate change, providing additional environmental and health benefits for farmers and rural communities.