Carbon Farming for Pastor-to-Product Climate Solutions
PETALUMA, Calif., Sept. 10, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Albert Straus, founder and CEO of Straus Family Creamery, a pioneering leader in sustainable organic dairy farming practices, will demonstrate how carbon farming and climate-positive agricultural practices can reverse climate change during two key speaking panels this week. These educational sessions are taking place alongside Gov. Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco from September 12 to 14.
Climate change is an increasingly urgent global concern for many American consumers, businesses and agricultural communities. A new study 1 by UC Berkeley scientists published in Science Advances illustrates that the pace of climate change can be decelerated by pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it into the ground, where it serves to improve soil quality and increase water retention. This science strengthens the growing body of research that substantiates carbon farming as a global solution to combat climate change.
UC Berkeley scientists reported when combined with aggressive carbon emission reductions – the best scenario for limiting warming from climate change – the study found that improved agricultural management could reduce global temperatures 0.26 degrees Celsius – nearly half a degree Fahrenheit – by 2100.
Albert Straus grew up on his family’s dairy farm and converted it to organic in 1994, making it the first certified organic dairy farm west of the Mississippi River. In 2013, the 500-acre Straus Dairy Farm became the first dairy in California to implement a carbon farm plan. Working with the Marin Carbon Project, Straus developed a 20-year carbon farm plan that reduces 2000 metric tons of CO2e every year on his farm.
Around 320 metric tons of CO2e is sequestered from the atmosphere back into the soil on the Straus Dairy Farm each year through carbon farming practices. Many of these are low technology and time-honored practices in sustainable farming communities throughout the world. They include applying compost on pastures to increase the organic matter, moisture retention, and nutrients. When soils have more organic matter and water retention and receive proper nutrition, they naturally increase the volume of pasture production. Other practices include implementing intensive rotational animal grazing to maximize pasture growth, planting windbreaks and hedgerows to reduce soil erosion, and planting perennial grasses to increase underground root systems.
“Carbon farming is critical to the future of agriculture and protecting our planet. On my farm, I see these practices as an achievable solution to global warming. My goal is to create a dairy farming system that is both environmentally positive and economically viable. I encourage other family farmers and ranchers in other regions of the world to replicate this model,” said Albert Straus.
He added that sustainable organic farming practices are imperative to ensure the health of farming for generations to come and to sustain a thriving relationship among farms, food, people, and the earth.
According to the Marin Carbon Project, if farmers spread a quarter inch of compost on just 50 percent of California’s rangelands, 42 million metric tons of CO2e would be offset, equivalent to all the electricity use for commercial and residential sectors in California.
A large portion of the Straus Dairy Farm’s carbon farm plan (about 80 percent or 1650 metric tons of CO2e) is achieved through a methane digester, which has been in operation since 2004. The digester captures methane gas from the cows’ waste and uses it to produce electricity that powers on-farm and off-farm vehicles and machinery. The CO2e emissions reduction from the digester is equivalent to taking 350 vehicles off the road each year.
Straus Family Creamery’s climate-friendly practices also include technological innovations. In 2017, Albert Straus converted a heavy-weight on-farm truck to the nation’s first full-scale electric feed truck which hauls feed to his nearly 300 cows.
Straus Family Creamery was recently recognized as a global environmental leader at the 2018 Sustainable Food Awards in Amsterdam. Register here for How Climate Solutions Make Business Sense For Food Companies at 8:30 a.m. (check-in and coffee start at 7:30 a.m.) on Tuesday, Sept. 11 and Food, Fiber, and Fungi – the “Carbon Pioneers” at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12.