Carbon farming can be applied as part of farm production

St1 is an energy group whose vision is to be the leading producer and seller of CO2-aware energy. We already promote a sustainable carbon cycle in many of our ongoing projects. One of these projects is LIFE Carbon Farming Scheme – a project that provides information and best practices on carbon sequestration for future carbon farming systems. In this story a participant of the project Mika Malin, a farmer and an agronomist, discusses carbon farming in practice.

Vierelä Farm has a lot of experience in carbon farming

Vierelä Farm, located in the municipality of Vihti in Southern Finland, is an organic farm with a cultivated area of around 150 to 200 hectares. The farm grows crops for food production. They also have extensive experience in carbon farming, a term used to describe the simultaneous growth of soil carbon stocks and food production. Arable lands have a significant potential in storing carbon from the atmosphere and, consequently, in mitigating climate change.

“We have participated in different carbon sequestration projects for over 10 years. Farms store vast amounts of carbon, and even with small changes in farming practices the amount of carbon in fields can be increased,” says Malin.

Carbon farming requires from the farmer to familiarise himself with the subject and to study new farming techniques. An important part of carbon farming is improving the structure of soil with, for example, soil amendments. Soil amendments are created from the industrial side-streams of the forest industry, and they are used to enrich the structure of the cultivated land. In addition, they also provide the soil with nutrients.

“The main task of the soil amendments is to increase the amount of organic matter in hard and clayey soil, which in turn increases the amount of humus content leading to an improvement in the water resource management, usage of nutrients and in the microbiological cycle on farms. This provides good preconditions for carbon farming,” Malin adds.

The research and the results play an especially important role in carbon farming. In the projects that I have participated in, soil samples are taken in the beginning and in the halfway point of a project as well as in the end of a project. Then the results of the measurements are compared and analysed,” Malin describes.

Carbon farming increases biodiversity

In addition to bringing climate benefits, carbon farming increases biodiversity and improves the durability of cultivated land in extreme weather conditions.

Malin describes the benefits of carbon farming in the following way: “For example, flowering plants can be grown via carbon farming. Clover and purple phacelia can be cultivated in multi-species lawns. The deep-rooted plants help to improve the structure of the soil and pollinating insects multiply. These factors increase biodiversity.” 

Of his experiences in carbon farming Malin says: “Nutrient fibres and carbon farming fit naturally as part of farm production. The farmer plays a key role in implementing carbon sequestration on farms. I also feel that the compensation that I receive from carbon farming is sufficient.”

Information and best practices on carbon sequestration

This article is a part of Life Carbon Farming Scheme -project that has received funding from the LIFE Preparatory Programme of the European Union.  Baltic Action Sea Group BSAG, Tyynelä Farm, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Puro.earth and North European Oil Trade NEOT also participate in the project in co-operation with St1.

During the course of the project, efficient factors in carbon markets have been recognised and the value chain of carbon credits  has been tested with a pilot that’s focused on the supply of carbon credits and sales in the voluntary carbon markets. Based on the knowledge received from the project, a set of instructions has been created for political decision-makers in order to implement the regulatory framework. Furthermore, the project has been able to show the carbon sequestration potential of carbon farming in various areas in Europe.

Find out more about the project on our website: https://www.st1.com/st1-life

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