UC Davis Professor William Horwath told the Assembly Ag Committee this week that while carbon sequestration offers many benefits, keeping ag land in production is one of the best ways to tackle climate change.

Horwath also listed several hurdles California farmers would face with these practices:

  • It costs $183 to sequester a ton of carbon due to the labor, “way above the market value.”
  • Cover crop seed is in short supply and not suitable for every application.
  • It is “extremely expensive” to verify the sequestration.
  • Technical assistance is lacking.
  • Global warming slows down sequestration.
  • Too much carbon in the soil could impact crop growth.

The soil scientist noted that when California began irrigating the southern San Joaquin Valley, farmers were already capturing more carbon in the soil than nature was able to. The state has been increasing soil carbon through agriculture ever since.