Public Release: 

Counting carbon on the farm topic of symposium

American Society of Agronomy

October 13, 2016-- Agriculture is in the middle of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission equation, as well as carbon storage. The soil is a potential sink for carbon though "carbon sequestration" in soils as well as agricultural biomass.

The "Counting Carbon on the Farm: Science, System, and Support" symposium planned at the Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, will address this important topic. The symposium will be held Monday, November 7, 2016 at 9:00AM. The meeting is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

The symposium will focus on research, development, and applications of farm to project-scale systems to support GHG reductions from soils and land use systems.

One tool, COMET-planner, will be discussed by Amy Swan, Colorado State. "If conservation planners wish to incorporate greenhouse gas impacts in their planning process, they will need access to quick, easy-to-use tools to assess greenhouse gas impacts of conservation practices on farms," says Swan. COMET-Planner was developed to provide generalized estimates of GHG impacts of adoption of National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation practice standards in a simple, web-based platform. Conservation scenarios were modeled in COMET-Farm, a whole farm and ranch carbon and greenhouse gas accounting system based on USDA entity-scale quantification methods, across a range of agricultural management, climate and soil types within Major Land Resource Areas (MLRA).

Steven Hamburg, with the Environmental Defense Fund, says "we need to look at the net benefits of specific practices and how they compare to alternative scenarios. Comparisons need to be robust and realistic, including limitations on land and organic matter availability. Both are required for providing a host of other important services, resulting in competition with many climate friendly alternative uses."

Allison Thomson, Field to Market, will talk about "updates on plans for metric revisions as well as a prototype system for independent verification of continuous improvement at the field and region level. One tool designed specifically for use in supply chain programs and increasingly being applied across commodity crop land in the US is the Fieldprint Calculator (FPC), a web based tool which provides results for seven key sustainability metrics - including greenhouse gas emissions and soil carbon - from individual fields based on farmer data inputs."


For more information about the Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance 2016 meeting, visit Media are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Oct. 26, 2016 is required. Visit for registration information. For information about the "Counting Carbon on the Farm: Science, System, and Support" symposium, visit

To speak with one of the scientists, contact Susan V. Fisk, 608-273-8091, to arrange an interview.

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