LandSmart Carbon Farm Plans

What is Carbon Farm Planning?
no-till drill

LandSmart® Carbon Farm Plans (CFPs) identify practices that would allow agricultural operations to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As much as one-third of the surplus CO2 in the atmosphere driving climate change has resulted from land management practices on agricultural lands. Carbon farming uses an array of strategies designed to promote long-term carbon sequestration by capturing carbon in the soil and plant material, and enhancing soil health and productivity as a result. These practices would provide multiple benefits for climate change resiliency (by reducing atmospheric CO2 levels) while improving soil health, water holding capacity, and crop and forage production.


Carbon Farm Planning Templates & Reference Guides

Forest template coming soon 




See a preliminary list of Carbon Farming Practices 

Learn more

Example Plans:

ABC Ranch Carbon Farm Plan

L-J Ranch Carbon Farm Plan

Huichica Creek Vineyard Carbon Farm Plan 

What are the benefits of a LandSmart® Carbon Farm Plan (CFP)?

  • Comply with the requirements of current and future environmental regulations, including water quality Conditional Waivers and TMDLs (Total Maximum Daily Loads)
  • Address concerns you have about specific areas of your property
  • Solidify your priorities for land management activities and determine a timeline that is feasible for you to implement your priorities
  • Implement land management practices that improve the long term productivity and profitability of your land while protecting natural resources
  • Prepare you for opportunities to take advantage of cost-share programs that can help you meet your goals

What does a CFP include?

A LandSmart® Plan is developed specifically for your property, with your goals and your needs in mind. Depending upon your site, LandSmart® Plans may include some or all of the following:

  • Mapping and inventory of property features such as planted areas, grazed areas, streams, riparian areas, roads, etc.
  • Water Management – Assessment of current practices and, if needed, recommendations for other beneficial practices (e.g., frost protection alternatives, irrigation upgrades, etc.)
  • Erosion, Sediment & Stormwater Management – Assessment of current practices and, if needed, recommendations for other beneficial practices (e.g., cover crop system ,vegetated buffer or swale, level spreader, sediment basin, streambank stabilization, drain inlet or outlet protection, road repair, etc.)
  • Agrichemical Management – Assessment of current pesticide and nutrient use practices  and, if needed, recommendations for other beneficial practices (e.g., integrated pest management, storage, containment, mixing and loading, etc.)
  • Management of riparian areas
  • Assessment of current practices and, if needed, recommendations for other beneficial practices (e.g., invasive plant removal, native vegetation enhancement, removal of fish passage obstructions/barriers, outlet protection, etc.)
  • Assessment and recommendations for other issues or management practices that are of interest to you

How can I get started on my LandSmart® CFP?

Contact your local RCD.

Partners’ Websites:

Marin Carbon Project

Carbon Cycle Institute


Funders’ Websites:

CA State Coastal Conservancy



The Story of Soil

Carbon Farming


LandSmart® CFP News

North Bay RCDs and Partners Plan for Climate Change on Vineyards

November 2016

Hosted at the beautiful SRJC Shone Farm, the Gold Ridge, Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa RCDs, the USDA’s NRCS Ukiah Office, UCCE Mendocino and the Santa Rosa Junior College came together this November to discuss current research on vineyard climate-beneficial practices for our region.

These might include timed irrigation/fertigation to increase nitrogen uptake by vines, compost application, hedgerow planting, cover cropping and grazing, reduced an non-tillage, and more. These practices are being examined for their ability to sequester carbon dioxide, retain water, reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers, amendments and pesticides, and maintain grape quality and quantity. This meeting will help inform the RCDs as they start assisting vineyards to create LandSmart Carbon Farm Plans.